The Lake

Sanford Lake North View

Sanford Lake North View

Sanford Lake Satellite View

Sanford Lake Satellite View

Sanford Lake is a man made reservoir located in Midland County, Michigan. It was formed by the damming of the Tittabawassee River near the village of Sanford, MI. The main body of the lake stretches for about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of the dam, but the water remains deep enough for small boat navigation up past the town of Edenville, MI ten miles (16 km) north of the dam.
Water Quality
The water quality of the lake is good. As a reservoir with a predominantly muddy bottom turbidity is a bit higher than the average natural lake in Michigan. The introduction of Zebra mussels in the 1990’s has significantly improved water clarity, but this has lead to an explosion of weed growth throughout the shallow portions of the lake. Fertilizers from the surrounding homes and agricultural areas have undoubtedly contributed to this growth. The invasive species known as Asian Milfoil has become a problem on the lake and has been controlled by the use of a aquatic herbicide and harvesting since 2003. The Sanford Lake Improvement Board was created in 1975 with the charter to focus on the weed growth at the lake and that still is their focus today. The lake is relatively shallow in most areas, with deeper areas mostly located in the actual river channel within the lake.

Stats and Figures

  • Lake Surface area:
  • 1,489 acres
  • Lake Volume:
  • 13,899 Acre – Feet
  • Shoreline Length:
  • 34.5 Miles
  • Widest point:
  • ~1/2 mile
  • Lake Elevation:
  • 631 Feet
  • Immediate Watershed Area:
  • 20,971 Acres
  • Extended Watershed Area:
  • 2000 Square Miles ( Approx.)
  • Average Depth:
  • 9.3 feet
  • Maximum Depth:
  • 26 feet

Sanford Dam Information
Ownership: Boyce Hydro Power, LLC, 6000 South M-30, P.O. Box 15, Edenville, Michigan 48624
tel: (989) 689-3161 / fax: (989) 689-3155
Lee W. Mueller, Co-Member Manager
Frank Christie, General Manager

  • Dam Built:
  • 1924
  • Number of turbines:
  • 3
  • Generation Capacity:
  • 3,30 KW
  • Dam height:
  • 36 ft
  • Hydraulic head:
  • 26 ft
  • Sanford Lake impoundment above dam:
  • 1,528 acres
  • Controlled crest length:
  • 1,579 ft
  • Spill width:
  • 139 ft
  • Minimum Continual Flow Rate Through Dam:
  • 210 ft³ / Second
  • Licensed under FERC:
  • 1987, relicensing in 2028


The Sanford Lake Preservation Association (SLPA) lot boundaries are configured based on the dam and lake system that align with requirements and agreements with FERC, Boyce Hydro, and Midland County to assure that regulatory and government requirements are met. If a property owner is adjacent to SLPA property, the owner has unencumbered access to the …

SLA Erosion Project

The SLA took on an erosion project in 2015 at the Lewis property on Sanford Lake. This spring with the help of a Sanford Lake volunteer, a video was shot of the work. You may view the video here on YouTube.

Water Quality

As we have previously advised, the SLA continues to participate in the Michigan Clean Water Corps. (“MiCorps”) Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (“CLMP”) wherein we voluntarily provide monitoring data on phosphorous levels (sampled twice a year, spring and late summer) as well as Secchi disk readings (measures a lake’s transparency/clarity—how deep you can see into the …

Weed Control on Sanford Lake

For all inquiries about weed control Jerome Township and the Village of Sanford is administered by the Sanford Lake Improvement Board and can be reached here. SLIB or call the Sanford Lake Hotline at (989) 837-7139 Edenville Township is administered by the township and can be reached here.Edenville Township weed control

Lake Management Plan

Attached is a presentation made to the SLA Board of Directors at the Feb. 18, 2013 board meeting. The presentation reviews the various characteristics of Sanford Lake and watershed, Nuisance aquatic plant control, etc… Progressive ae is the firm hired by the SLIB that treats the weeds for Jerome and the Village of Sanford. February_18_SLA_presentation

Property Owners

The SLA has compiled the number and type of property owners around Sanford Lake. All data is from public sources. Three townships comprise Sanford Lake: The Village of Sanford, Jerome and Edenville. There are two types of owners, lake front and back lot. Lake front owners have a shoreline along the lake and back lot …

Bird Monitoring

Latest Bald Eagle Monitoring report for the period 4/1/10 to 3/31/11. Boyce is required to submit this to FERC on a yearly basis. Bald Eagle Monitoring 04.2010 to 03.2011

DNR Fishery Resource Report

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Status of the Fishery Resource Report Link to the report. Sanford Lake: Midland County (T15N, R1W, Sec Many). 2007.

Sanford Dam


The lake is well known for Musky fishing (including spearing in the Winter), which the Michigan DNRE planted in the lake some 20 years ago. The village of Sanford has a fishing platform within the village limits on the southern edge of the lake near the dam. Another popular fishing spot is at the Sanford …

Lake Safety

Cold Water Can Kill Even after ice has melted, cold water can still present a lethal threat… and many don’t have any appreciation of this… “Rules of 50”: A 50-year-old person has a 50-50 chance of surviving 50 minutes in 50-degree water. This means a typical adult has a 50% chance of surviving a 50 …

Ice Shanties

The following is from the Department of Natural Resources website and can be found here. “A person placing a shanty on the ice for fishing shall permanently affix their name and address on all sides of the shanty in legible letters at least 2 inches in height. The letters shall be readily visible and consist …

Healthy Lawns and Healthy Lakes

My husband and I had the privilege of listening to a speaker from the MSU extension program from Oakland County as she presented a program regarding healthy landscaping and yard management for lakefront owners at the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association conference on April 14th. She made some very important points to help reduce the …