Outside Legal Counsel PLC

Michigan's Natural Rivers Program

Part 305 of P.A. 451 of 1994 - Natural Rivers Act

The Michigan Natural Rivers Program, a state-imposed zoning scheme managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is a highly complicated and detailed law containing more than one-hundred pages of regulations and standards controlling how riparians (property owners along a river) utilize their land. The Michigan Natural Rivers Program was established by the Natural River Act (Part 305 of P.A. 451 of 1994) for the purpose of preserving a designated river's various values (along with its various creeks and tributaries) including aesthetics, free-flowing condition, recreation, boating, historic, water conservation, floodplain, and fisheries and wildlife habitat.

Since 1970, over two-thousand miles on sixteen rivers or segments of rivers have been designated into Michigan's Natural Rivers Program. Lands and property affected by the Natural Rivers Program under the Natural River Act span numerous counties concentrated in West and Northern Michigan. Covered rivers (and their creeks) include: The real-world effect of this law is a complicated and difficult set of regulations to work through by riparians and developers across Michigan with enforcement by the Michigan DNR and local zoning administrators.

If you have been contacted by the Michigan DNR with a letter of violation or need assistence with the Michigan Natural Rivers Program and its maze of regulations, contact a riparian rights attorney at OLC.

Riparian Resources

 Riparian Basics & Law
 Riparian Extensions
 Private Docks
 Lake Views
 The Great Lakes Difference
 Public Road Ends
 Public Act 56
 Meander Lines

Other Resources

 Natural Rivers Program
 Right to Farm Act