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Water Laws. State of Michigan. Michigan Legislature. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/. Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994, PA 451, as amended (Act 451).

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Water Laws

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Water Laws

State of Michigan

Michigan Legislature


Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act

  • Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994, PA 451, as amended (Act 451).

  • Water quality also is protected under the Act. The statute prohibits water discharges that could harm:

    • Public health, safety or welfare;

    • Domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational or other water uses;

    • The value or utility of riparian lands;

    • Livestock, wildlife, or plants.

  • Additionally, a state permit is required to discharge waste or waste effluent into surface water or groundwater

Inland Lakes and Streams


  • Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Act (PA 451)

Michigan’s New Water Use Bill

  • Part of Public Act 451, signed February 28, 2006

  • A landmark package of water-use bills, bringing long overdue protections to Michigan’s waters

    • An immediate prohibition against new large-scale water withdrawals that cause adverse resource impacts to lakes and streams

    • A permit requirement for new large-scale water withdrawals

    • A requirement that the projects include plans to remedy any measurable impacts

Well conflict

  • The Aquifer Protection and Dispute Resolution Act (PA 177) empowers the MDNRE to investigate whether high-capacity wells are depleting groundwater supplies and, if so, to order remedies. (Construction-project dewatering wells and some municipal water wells are exempt. Cases involving agricultural wells are handled by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.)

  • State action is instigated under PA 177 when a well owner reports a drop in water supply or change in water quality. The complainant must have reason to believe that their water supply is being diminished or compromised by a higher-capacity well in the region

DNRE – Drinking Water


  • Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act 1976 PA 399, as amended

  • Administrative rules, supplying water to the public R325.10101 to R325.12820

  • Delineation of wellhead protection areas is mandated for community drinking water wells under this Act.

Complete PDF of the Act available at:




  • Michigan's wetland statute, Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451

  • Under the Act, a permit is required for the following activities:

    • Deposit or permit the placing of fill material in a wetland;

    • Dredge, remove, or permit removal of soil or minerals from a wetland

    • Construct, operate, or maintain any use of development in a wetland; or

    • Drain surface water from a wetland

  • These activities are regulated regardless of the intention of the dredging, filling, construction, or draining activities.


EPA – Laws & Regulations


Endangered Species Act

  • Endangered Species Act is to protect species and also "the ecosystems upon which they depend."

  • ESA's primary goal is to prevent the extinction, and secondly, to recover and maintain by removing or lessening threats to their survival.

Hundred-Million-Dollar Dam Stopped by Three-Inch Fish

  • In 1975, the Snail Darter was placed on the newly created Endangered Species List.

  • United States Supreme Court affirmed an injunction that stopped the Tennessee Valley Authority from completing the Tellico Dam project because the proposed project would destroy the Snail Darter’s habitat.

  • The dam, at that time, was more than 90 percent built!

Interesting Readings

Water Follies:

Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters

by Robert Glennon

The Great Lakes Water Wars

by Peter Annin

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

by Marc Reisner

Water Follies:

Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh Waters

by Marq de Villiers

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