The West Crooked Lake level was established under Part 307 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), also known as Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended. The summer and winter lake levels are mandated by a 1990 court order, which came about by petition from the residents owning land surrounding the lake. The Livingston County Drain Commissioner (LCDC) is responsible for maintaining the levels through operation of the dam. LCDC is also responsible for inspecting and maintaining the dam.
The lake level is monitored by LCDC
staff regularly, and more frequently during spring and fall rain events. The control
structure consists of wooden boards (or slats) that can be added and
removed to affect flow leaving the lake. There is not a perfect
seal between each board, which means a trickle of water
may still flow between the boards when boards are added.
The court order requires the lake to be lowered between November 1st and November 15th each year to obtain the winter level (939.75 feet). The order also stipulates that the change from winter level to summer level (940.66 feet) will occur at "ice out" each spring, which is defined as the breakup of ice from the shoreline. Based on requests by the Michigan DNR at the time of the court proceedings, the lake levels set by the court are intended to maintain a continuous flow of at least 2.5 cubic feet per second downstream of the dam, to the extent possible.
LCDC is obligated to adhere to the lake levels stipulated by the court order to the best of our ability. Fluctuations in lake level may occur due to excessive precipitation or lack of rain. The operation of the control structure during rain events takes into consideration the amount of rainfall, the lake level at the time of the rain event, and the impacts to landowners both upstream and downstream of the dam.