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Save the Lake!

Photo Courtesy of the North Berrien Historical Society.

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Current Projects

77-Acre Farm

Purchase & Revegetation

PPLF is in the process of purchasing the 77-acre property and are currently fundraising in order to carry out the revegetation process.


Key Strategy 1: Improvement of Water Quality


Goal 1: Establish a Continuous Measurement Program



  1. Appoint a chairperson and committee charged with the responsibility of establishing a long term PPL measurement program that includes:

  2. Retain the services of appropriate professionals to conduct regular sampling procedures and reports.

E.g. Hire Wally Fuslier, the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, and/or the LaMotte Self Testing Program.

  3. Develop standard reporting format on an annual basis

  4. Determine key water quality measures, select measurement locations and timetable

E.g. Test key drains: Little Paw Paw Lake, Branch Derby, Sherwood, Smith-Strong, Kelly and Forest Beach.

   5. The Committee will develop its action and reporting plans      and present to the Board June 5, 2005


Goal 2: Reduce nutrients


  1. Implement the installation of sediment basins along and near the Branch-derby drain.

  2. Identify targeted nutrients based on Measurement Program

  3. Determine appropriate reduction actions

E.g. -Determine highest indices for appropriate reduction

       -Develop filters to remediate

  1. Identity locations of nutrient enrichment into the Branch-derby Drain by upstream farms and orchards.

  2. Develop and implement an Anti-Lawn Fertilizer program to motivate property homeowners to reduce phosphate deposits.


Goal 3: Reduce bottom sediment



  1. Map lake bottom and measure deepest sediment locations.

  2. Establish key sediment measurement locations

  3. Conduct core sampling in areas of high concentration

  4. Measure and analyze sediment

  5. Determine and analyze options for implementation of spot removal of sediment.

  6. Explore costs and funding for implementation of spot sediment removal.

  7. Evaluate potential remedies with outside vendors.

  8. Implement a spot sediment removal program



Goal 4: Identify the Paw Paw Lake watershed (drainage basin)



  1. Research existing data that maps the PPL watershed.

E.g. Contact government agencies for help with determining the existing watershed.

  1.  Identify and map storm drains.

  2. Determine the estimated water flow from all County drains

  3. Determine other rivers or steams that add to the PPL watershed and quantify their input.

  4. Calculate flush rate




Key Strategy 2: Preservation and improvement of wetlands


Goal 1: Map and evaluate PPL wetlands



  1. Identify and map all existing PPL wetlands

(Consider use of consultant to map watershed as well as wetlands)

  1. Determine key measures of wetlands health and establish an evaluation process

  2. Site visits to all to conduct an evaluation of their effectiveness.

  3. Analyze findings and present recommendations to Board for restoration or enhancement


Goal 2: Restore and Enhance high impact wetlands



  1. Research alternative methods for restoring/enhancing wetlands

  2. Develop plans to reactivate inactive wetlands.

  3. Develop estimated costs for each and prioritize

  4. Develop list of “top 20” from above study​

  5. Return wetlands to previously existing natural condition from a disturbed or totally altered state.
  6. To be determined after Goal 1 has been initiated


Goal 3: Wetland Creation



1. Research possible locations, costs, and feasibility for new wetland creation.

2. Convert an area that was historically upland into a wetland.



Key Strategy 3: Protection against infestation


Goal 1: Reduce Eurasian Milfoil



  1. Explore ways to eliminate, reduce, or control density.

  2. Develop reduction program

  3. Establish a long-term program to measure reduction.

  4. Create a marketing program to inform lake community and to obtain support and participation


Goal 2: Prevent Zebra Mussel Infestation



  1. Conduct annual testing and evaluation of Zebra Mussel presence.

  2. Continue and improve community awareness program.

E.g.Distribute information about zebra mussels to lake community, signage at launch sites, solicit assistance of DEQ or other appropriate agencies to educate all lake users about zebra mussels


Goal 3: Eliminate Purple Loosestrife



  1. Implement an awareness program to inform all lake residents about Purple Loose Strife and gain support and participation

  2. Identify all locations on PPL.

  3. Conduct an eradication campaign.

            E.g. establish an annual Purple Loosestrife week.

   4. Monitor elimination of infestation.


Goal 4: Reduce presence of seagulls.



  1. Research the problem/methods through other organizations. E.g. Check if any government agencies monitor seagull counts other lake associations, environmental groups.

  2. Determine sources

  3. Evaluate options.

  4. Develop and implement a reduction program.


Key Strategy 4:  Develop a broad base of financial support from the community.


Goal 1: Develop a comprehensive Community Communications Plan that promotes PPLF’s Mission, Strategies, Goals, and Accomplishments
E.g. Prepare a “State of the Lake” Annual report, media coverage, brochures, etc.


Goal 2: Increase the percent of lakeside residents who contribute to PPLF efforts



  1. Appoint a committee to focus on this goal

  2. Establish measurements for success. 

  3. Develop a list of lakefront property owners; contributors and non-contributors

  4. Develop and conduct an annual fund raising campaign that includes:

-personal contact fundraising

-events fundraising


Goal 3: Increase the per cent of recreational users who contribute to PPLF.



  1. Appoint a committee to focus on this goal

  2. Establish measurements for success. 

  3. Develop and implement a plan


-Develop some sort of vehicle that will solicit support at the public launch sites.

-Contact local “fishing clubs” and ask for their financial support

-Identify bass tournament sponsors for support

-Provide information about the foundation to area marinas and merchants

-Post foundation information at public boat ramps and other high visibility sites.


Goal 4: Increase support from community businesses




  1. Appoint a committee to focus on this goal

  2. Establish measurements for success. 

  3. Develop and implement a plan


-Appoint a committee to focus on the goal.

-Develop “approved” PPLF merchant list and Publish annually to membership.

-Sell PPLF supporter ID for merchant locations.

-Develop LOGO for merchants to use in their advertisements and store signage

-Identify businesses that profit from Paw Paw Lake and develop system to publicize them and support them.

-Develop a marketing communication targeted to community businesses


Goal 5: Seek support from environmental, government, or other organizations



  1. Appoint a committee to focus on this goal

  2. Establish measurements for success. 

  3. Develop and implement a plan


-Identify potential supporters.

-Continue to actively seek grants on County, State and Federal levels for all projects pertaining to Paw Paw Lake and its watershed.

-Contact organizations that are potential supporters to explore possibilities

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Initial discussions regarding solutions include land prep for planting potentially creating valleys, berms and ponds slowing, filtering, storing and recharging water (instead of sending directly into the drain and into Paw Paw Lake). 

Additional projects under consideration requiring funding

• Dredging lake of dead weeds that have sunk to the bottom and are creating phosphorous

• Dredging of sediment pond at M -140 and Hagar Shore Road

• Install a 300 foot “two stage ditch” into the B&D Drain at S/W side Hagar Shore & PPL Road to reduce a serious sediment erosion problem that flows into Paw Paw Lake 

• Revegetate the Branch & Derby Drain banks with bioengineering consisting of native shoreline perennial plantings.

For additional project information, view our full presentation:

Click here for the By-Laws of PPLF: 

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Successful Initiatives

Two projects have recently been completed: a new sediment basin in one of the Berrien County drains and a new sediment barrier on a large upstream farm property.

Additionally, PPLF successfully executed the Paw Paw Lake Catch Basin Clean-Out Pilot Project, raising $25,000 and funding a catch basin identification program and pilot structure clean-out project.164 catch basins were evaluated and cleaned out, approx. 75 cubic yards of waste was removed and disposed of, and an average of 33 structures were cleaned-out per day resulting over the course of 5 days. Catch basin evaluations revealed that 4 catch basins needed immediate attention and 12 others need attention in the immediate future.

The impact of these PPLF initiatives are confirmed.  The sediment load in the drain water has been reduced due to the effectiveness of the sediment basin.  The sediment barrier also was a successful temporary solution in reducing the sediment dump from the farm property.

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Water Fowl Management

Geese add tremendous amounts of nutrients and bacteria to the lake. Geese can defecate as many as 92 times a day. Just 50 geese can produce two and a half tons of excrement in a year. Every dropping contains nitrogen and phosphorus, the major contributors to accelerated weed growth in Paw Paw Lake.


DNR / Paw Paw Lake Lake Foundation Goose Round-Up


The Foundation working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), will conduct a “round-up” of the over population of geese on Paw Paw Lake. The permitted event is conducted in June by a contractor licensed by the state of Michigan. After the geese have been rounded up, they are relocated by the DNR.

Paw Paw Lake Catch Basin Clean-Out Pilot Project 

Abstract of Report Prepared by the Spicer Group on May 17, 2022

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