The Basics about Michigan's Riparian Law and Rights
Water rights under Michigan law
Land is riparian when it includes or is bounded by a natural watercourse. When land touches the water's edge, the property is commonly known as being "riparian" from the Latin word 'riparius' which literally means river. Littoral land includes or abuts a lake. Except for rare circumstances, Michigan water law has not kept a legal distinction between these rights.
All property in pink, which surrounds the lake in blue is riparian or littoral property
Rights by Easement
However, sometimes property which is not "on" the lake can have riparian rights. Water rights can be deeded or granted via an easement, reservation, and other ways to allow property which is a "back lot" or "off lot" to have access to the water. These access rights can be as little as ingress and egress to the waters edge or permission to use the lake just as if full riparian rights were conveyed.
All property in yellow is riparian property, but the green properties have been
granted a riparian easemen across the access point marked in dark green.
Protect Your RightsOLC represents private land owners regarding disputes with local governments, enforcement officials, neighbors, home and property owners associations, and others. Contact a riparian rights attorney at Outside Legal Counsel today.
RIPARIAN RESOURCESRiparian Basics & Law
The Great Lakes Difference
Public Road Ends
Public Act 56
JUDICIAL DECISIONS2000 Baum Family Trust
Gilroy v Speidel
Natural Rivers Program
Right to Farm Act