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

Dam and Power Plant Ownership: Boyce Hydro Power, LLC, 6000 South M-30, P.O. Box 15, Edenville, Michigan 48624
Lee W. Mueller, Co-Member Manager

Lake Bottom Ownership: Four Lakes Task Force

  • Dam Built:
  • Number of turbines:
  • 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …