Barron Lake water levels still dropping

NILES, Mich. - An expert has been hired to figure out why a Cass County lake keeps losing its water.

Barron Lake, just East of Niles, had the most significant water loss of all county lakes during this summer’s drought and conditions have not rebounded. 

The Barron Lake Homeowners Association hired an expert from Michigan State University, Dr. Shu-Guang Li, to analyze data and determine the cause of the mysterious water loss. Currently, the water level is down more than two feet. 

“This is where the water used to be,” pointed Lee Lawson to a spot in the sand where the water level usually is at her home on Barron Lake.  “Right on the end of our pier its only ankle-deep and it used to be up to your waist practically.”

Many homeowners on Barron Lake have extended their piers further from shore or park their boats 15 or 20-feet from the end of their docks.

Lawson said recent rain has made no difference to levels on the lake. “It seems like we’re not gaining on it we’re losing more,” she said.  

According to an initial report from Dr. Li, Barron Lake is “leaky” and water has been filling an underground aquifer. He also reported to the homeowner’s association that an augmentation pump that helps maintain lake levels isn’t helping. The aquifer takes more water from the lake than the pump takes from it.

“It’s sad to see this because it’s such a beautiful lake to start with,” said Lawson. “We’re all building new houses out here and we’re losing our lake.”

More research will be done to determine whether action can be taken to fix the situation.


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