Riparian Rights In Michigan


The State of Michigan defines riparian rights as “those rights which are associated with the ownership of the bank or shore of an inland lake or stream.” This resource was created to provide riparian property owners and members of the general public an outline of essential information pertaining to those riparian legal rights and limitations associated with owning stream bank or inland lake shoreline constituted private property in Michigan. This publication should be construed and used only as a general reference. Riparian rights are subject to frequent revision by court rulings and various ordinances that may be enacted by local governments. Please consult with a qualified riparian rights attorney for expert counsel regarding specific issues or cases.

Basic Riparian Rights in Michigan

Even though riparian property rights continue to evolve due to legislative revision of state law, various court decisions and enactment of local ordinances, riparian property owners continue to enjoy the following basic rights:

Access to the water of an inland lake or stream upon which they own riparian property
Installation of a dock anchored to their riparian bottom land
Anchorage of a boat on their bottom land and/or secure mooring to their dock
Reasonable use of water from the lake or stream for strictly domestic purposes
The right of accretions: meaning ownership of the gradual accumulation of sand, silt or organic matter on riparian owned shorelines

Limitations of Riparian Rights

Michigan courts have repeatedly ruled that riparian rights are correlative rights whose exercise must be reasonable at all times and may not encroach or infringe upon the use of the surface of the lake or stream by other riparian property owners or members of the general public. In addition, there are certain activities pertaining to inland lakes and streams that are regulated by the NREPA of 1994, Public Act 451, Part 301, and as such, require the issuance of a permit from the Michigan DEQ. These limitations of riparian rights include but are not necessarily limited to the following activities:

Riparian property owners shall not:

Anchor a raft or moor a boat on or above the bottom lands of another riparian owner
Install a dock of an unreasonable length and/or at an angle that interferes with or limits the navigability of the water body or the riparian rights of neighboring property owners
Dedicate the surface or any portion thereof of a lake or stream without a permit from the DEQ
Transfer riparian rights to another person
Restrict the use of the surface of a lake or stream by members of the public
Build a seawall or jetty closer to the water’s edge than at the ordinary high-water mark
Construct a seawall without a DEQ permit
Dredge or place fill in a like or stream without a permit from the DEQ
Alter or modify their riparian shoreline or remove aquatic plants without a DEQ permit

However, while many areas of water law in Michigan are well established by the courts, the riparian rights of lakefront property owners living on an artificial lakes throughout Michigan are uncertain as of August 2015 due to two recent decisions of the Michigan Court of Appeals. Within the last five years, the Court of Appeals held that artificial lakes in Michigan do not have riparian rights in Persell v. Wertz, 287 Mich App 576 (2010) and Holton v. Ward, 303 Mich App 718 (2014). To read an article by attorney-at-law Clifford H. Bloom regarding the tenuous status of riparian rights for folks owning property on artificial lakes, 

Demolition Derby & Fireworks
July 3rd
4th of July Parade
Clare County Fair
July 25th - 30th
(Sponsored by Clare County Fairgrounds)
Harrison Street Fair
Aug 26th - 27th
(Sponsored by City of Harrison)
Rock the Dock Concert

Sep 10th

                              CLICK ON TAB

YODERS Amish Quilt Auction & Flea Market...2022

2022 Dates & Times
September 2 & 3, 2022

Flea Market Times are 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM each day
Auctions start at 9:00 am
Located at:
10885 N. Leaton Rd., Clare, Michigan 48617

To reserve space at this auction and for more information please contact:
The Simon and Barbara Yoder farm at: 
10885 N. Leaton Rd.
Clare, MI 48617

Parking  on site is STILL ONLY $1.00 or
A Horse and Equipment Consignment Auction  is held before the Quilt and Craft Show in the spring- and after the Quilt and Craft Show in the fall. Prices obtained for these items are  fair due to the large number of buyers present. Sales commissions are similar to  those charged by private auctioneer services. 
While we happily promote this wonderful event, please remember to respect our Amish neighbors. Sales for  the auction are Friday and Saturday only with no Sunday sales. 
Please help  our neighbors enjoy the quiet lifestyle that they prefer most days of the year.