Lake Facts

The following information was obtained from Michigan Department of Natural Resources Report 2008-48, Status of the Fishery Resource Report, Lake Chemung Livingston County, T2N, R5E, Sections 3,4,9,10,11, Shiawassee River Watershed by Joseph M. Leonardi


Lake Chemung is geographically located between Howell and Brighton in central Livingston County Michigan and its proximity to these cities makes it a valuable resource to the community.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division, has operated a public access site on the lake since 1942. 

Lake Characteristics:

In general, Lake Chemung is considered to be a warm water and deep lake of medium size with good water quality (based upon water quality results collected by various groups throughout a several year period).  The lake is very popular for all types of recreational uses including boating, fishing, and swimming.  Nutrient loading into the lake was considered to be a major concern in the 1970’s and 1980’s; however after a residential sanitary sewer system was installed around the lake in 1994, nutrient levels in the lake reduced significantly.  Although installation of the sanitary sewer system was a positive step toward reducing nutrient levels in the lake, it is important to note that the decrease in phosphorus coincided also with the time that zebra mussels were first identified in the lake.  And, research has shown that zebra mussel colonization results in increased particle and nutrient removal from lake water.

Although Lake Chemung is a natural lake, Alger Creek, the lake’s primary outlet, has been dammed enlarging the lake’s size to approximately 313 acres.  Lake Chemung has a fairly regular shoreline.  It is elongated in shape and has a length estimated to be approximately 1.6 miles. Depth changes in the lake are abrupt reaching a maximum of 70 feet.  Approximately 10% of the lake’s total surface area is classified as littoral (< 15 ft. deep). Bottom substrate in the lake is made up of a combination of sand, organic muck, and marl. (Lake Chemung Map)

Groundwater inflow into the lake is stable and it is sufficient to maintain the lake’s aquatic ecosystem.  Surface water contributions to the lake are variable; however they help to maintain the water level in the lake.  The area of land draining rainfall into Lake Chemung is 1,638 acres (L. Szabo Kraft, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). The primary surface water inlet into Lake Chemung is an unnamed drain located on the lake’s north shore.  Surface water also drains into Lake Chemung intermittently from various locations along the lake’s south shore. 

 Lake Chemung Dam and Legal Lake Level:

The Lake Chemung dam dates back to the 1920’s; however, the current structure was built in 1968 and it is maintained and operated by the Livingston County Drain Commission. The dam is described as an earthen dam with a concrete water control structure and overspill discharge. The hydraulic and structural height of the control structure is 5 feet but normal head is maintained at 2 feet.  A legal lake level has been established in the lake at 957.9 feet above mean sea level.