Duck Lake Level Updates


The Duck Lake level may be viewed relative to the summer and winter levels below. 


In September 2017, Grand Traverse County Circuit Court proceedings concluded with an Order establishing the elevation of Duck Lake in accordance with Part 307 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. The 2017 Order reaffirmed the high lake level established in 1959 by the Court and allows for a winter lake level 6-inches lower than the summer level mitigating lake ice damage to shores. The Order sets Duck Lake at 837.3 feet in elevation relative to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. The lake level is controlled through the operation of the Duck Lake Dam, constructed in 1960 by Grand Traverse County.

In September 2020, the Duck Lake Dam was equipped with monitoring capability, allowing daily observation of lake levels and timely adjustment of the Dam to address fluctuations, particularly those caused by storm events. 

The watershed sourcing water to Duck Lake is over 35 square miles in area. Precipitation on lands 7 miles east of the Lake ultimately makes its way to Duck Lake. The Lake are headwaters of the Betsie River, which discharges to Betsie Lake and Lake Michigan 25 miles west of Duck Lake.

The hydrograph for Duck Lake is shown below and illustrates the effect of the large watershed. 


Flow into the Lake may exceed the flow out of the Lake by 10-fold. This amazing watershed provides challenges to the maintenance of the lake level, highlighting the value of continuous monitoring.

  1. Andy Smits

    Drain Commissioner