By Dane Carey, Dingeman & Dancer, PLC
Michigan townships have authority to regulate inland lakes via riparian rights that attach to the adjoining water. Township of Yankee Springs v. Fox, 264 Mich App 604, 606 (2004). Unlike inland lakes, however, the State of Michigan holds title to the center of each Great Lake bordering Michigan, and riparian owners on the Great Lakes only own to the ordinary high-water mark. Hilt v. Weber, 252 Mich 198 (1930); Peterman v. Department of Natural Resources, 446 Mich 177 (1994). Given that exclusive riparian ownership ends at the ordinary high-water mark, it logically follows that a township’s authority to regulate ends at this point.
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