Lake Study

There have been a few minor updates to the lake study

Final Report to the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

May 27, 2016

Ecohydrologic Evaluation of Removing the Higgins Lake-Level Control Structure

Higgins Lake, in Roscommon County, has experienced significant shoreline erosion, some of which has been attributed to high water caused by a lake-level control structure (dam) at lake’s outlet into the Cut River. The erosion has been severe enough to concern the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association, and the structure’s operations are non-compliant with the provisions of the Muskegon River Watershed Plan (O’Neal 2003). The effects of the erosion and accompanying disturbance to the lake bottom, surrounding vegetation, animal species, and neighboring aquatic habitats have had little study since the construction of a permanent dam in 1936. This is despite the fact that the lake and its environs provide significant fishing, recreational and economic benefits to the citizens of Michigan. For these reasons, we conducted a study of the area that included hydrology, wildlife, vegetation, and weather to provide a scientific basis to help local decision makers alleviate the erosion, minimize ecosystem impacts, and maximize recreational benefits from the lake.

Read the Rest

See Attached Report:



MSU and U of M Higgins Lake Study

Following is a link to a draft version of the MSU Higgins Lake study. Also included is the U of M portion of the study. The reports have been submitted to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for final review. Verification by the MDNR is still being completed; therefore, there may be additions or corrections in the near future. We will post any updates as they become available.

The purpose of the study was not to make recommendations regarding the lake level control structure but to collect hydrologic and ecological data to develop simulated models to show the effect of altered dam management.

The Higgins Lake Foundation Board has not taken a position on the lake level control structure. Hopefully, the knowledge gained from the study will inform and unite residents and policy makers alike in their mutual efforts to protect and preserve Higgins Lake.


Draft Version of the MSU Higgins Lake Study
U of M Portion of the Study