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The original item was published from 11/7/2023 8:58:42 AM to 11/7/2023 11:08:00 AM.

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Water - News

Posted on: November 7, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Lowering of Portage and Base Line Lakes

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Scott Miller, P.E., Deputy Water Resources Commissioner

Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office


[email protected] 

Lowering of Portage and Base Line Lakes 

Lake Level Change Begins November 21, 2023


WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI - The lake level of Portage and Base Line lakes will be lowered beginning on November 21, 2023. The lake level was legally established in 1949 to reduce ice damage and erosion to the shoreline.  The legally established winter lake level range is between 850.04 and 850.29 feet above sea level. The lakes will reach the winter range by December 1, 2023, weather conditions permitting, according to Scott Miller, P.E., Deputy Water Resources Commissioner.

The Flook Dam, just downstream of Portage and Base Line lakes, was constructed in 1965. The dam controls the water levels of the lakes using 5 radial gates separated by concrete piers. In April of 2023, one bay became non-functional. Shortly after, a second bay was taken offline. In July, our office met with members of Michigan’s Dam Safety Task Force, along with a structural engineering expert. An inspection indicated that each of the five radial gates needed to be replaced. The gates have outlasted their life expectancy and their structural integrity is of concern. Our office is currently working through the legal process to move forward with repairs and renew the operations of the dam. No change to the court-mandated lake levels is anticipated throughout the repair operations.  For more visit

The Portage and Base Line Lake Level District includes lands in both Washtenaw and Livingston County. The district spans Dexter and Webster townships in Washtenaw County, and Hamburg and Putnam townships in Livingston County. For further information, contact our office at 734-­222-6860.

To receive updates about the Portage Base Line Lake Level or the Flook Dam, via text message or email, subscribe to the Flook Dam on Portage Lake list in the Notify Me section at

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