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Photo Courtesy of the North Berrien Historical Society.

Paw Paw Lake Foundation News

Year End 2023
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Photo Courtesy of the North Berrien Historical Society.

It needs to be said again!

Although we have made significant progress, scientific studies show that the nutrient level in Paw Paw Lake is still too high.  Long term, reducing nutrient levels in the lake is still very important.


Nutrients are the primary food source for invasive weeds and algae.  The aquatic plants in our lake are literally soaking in a bath of fertilizer.  The nutrients over-stimulate weed and algae growth. That is why the invasive weeds need to be treated with chemicals each year, and the lake turns green with algae blooms.


So...the Foundation continues to focus on ways to reduce the nutrient level in the lake. How?  By reducing the inflow of nutrients into the lake from the County drains and property and road run-off.  Over time, with reduced nutrient inflow and the annual lake water turnover, the total lake water nutrient level will be reduced.


Thanks to your generous donations, the Foundation can continue to make progress in helping to improve the water quality of our lake.

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Photo Courtesy of the North Berrien Historical Society.

It might be boring, but it's important

This year the Foundation has been working on several projects that will improve the water quality of Paw Paw Lake.  After all the storm drains had been cleaned out last year, we were able to focus on the other nutrient contributors to the lake water, the County drains.


Unlike big city drains, Country drains are just shallow dirt ditches that collect storm water run-off from miles of mostly farmland.  Drains flow primarily from the east of Paw Paw Lake, from Watervliet on the south, and Covert on the north. The drains are loaded with nutrient-rich sediment from the fertilized farm fields.  All the drain water eventually winds up in Paw Paw Lake.


The major two County drains (B&D and the Green drain) dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of drain water into the lake each year.  


Reducing the nutrient-rich sediment in these drains is IMPORTANT

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Drain Improvement 


1.  B&D Sediment Basin

The main sediment collection basin on the B&D Drain has been cleaned out again.  (PPLF funded $18,000.)  Now a new system is being reviewed that will slow the flow of drain water passing through the basin, allowing more nutrient-rich sediment to be deposited into the basin.  The system involves a floating baffle and an automated phosphorus reduction chemical infusion unit.  The process, if funded, could have a significant effect on the nutrient-rich sediment inflow into Paw Paw Lake.

2.  New Sediment Basin

A new sediment basin for the Green Drain is being explored.  A private property owner has given the PPLF permission to pursue the opportunity.  Effectiveness, costs and design are under review.

3.  New Drains Survey

A new survey of both the B&D Drain and the Green Drain is being co-funded with the SAD.  Miles of both drains will be studied, end to end, to determine if any areas are causing significant sediment inflows.  This new survey is timely and necessary.

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Where Are We Now?

Currently there are three major drain water quality improvement initiatives under review.  Initial cost estimates are $110,000.  

Co-funding with the Paw Paw Lake Special 

Assessment District 

(SAD) is needed. 

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Don't Forget  

Don't dump grass, weeds, or leaves into the lake.  Don't use fertilizer that contains phosphorus.  Don't dump anything down street drains except water.

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