Lake Conditions

Legal Limit Above Mean Sea Level

Lake Court Ordered Summer Lake Level
Court Ordered Winter Lake Level
Court Order Date
Datum
Houghton Lake
1138.10 1137.60 March 19, 1982
1130.00
Higgins Lake
1154.11 1153.61 March 19, 1982
1148.74
Lake St. Helen
1155.25 1154.75 May 5, 1998
1149.01
Lake level gauges are fixed and working properly. Winter level to commence on or about November 1 of each year and is restored to its legal level commencing on or about April 15, or ice-out, whichever shall first occur, in each year. Formula: Current gage reading + Datum = Legal Mean Sea Level

Roscommon County Dam Conditions

Houghton Lake
Higgins Lake
Lake St. Helen
Gate 1: Closed 6-28-16
Boards 1: Closed 4-15-15
Boards 1:    3  9-12-16
Gate 2: Closed 6-13-16
Boards 2:  Closed 4-15-15
Gate:      Closed 5-3-16
Boards: 4  7-27-16
Boards 3:Closed 4-15-15
Boards 2:     3  9-21-16
Gate 3: Closed 6-28-16
Gate 1: Closed 3-30-16
N/A
Gate 4: Closed 6-13-16

Gate 2:  Closed 5-10-16

N/A
Gate 5: Closed 6-13-16
Gate 3:   Closed 5/10/16
N/A

Understanding Lake Level Readings


Every 15 minutes, a gauge located on Higgins, Houghton and Lake St. Helen, reads the lake level and sends the data to a United States Geologic Survey (USGS) office.  Links to the USGS web site for each lake are listed below.
 

The chart below translates USGS gauge numbers relative to summer and winter legal levels as well as to the sea level elevation.  These levels were set by the Michigan Circuit Court in 1982.

Special Notes
USGS Gauge Reading Summer Level
Relative to Court Ordered 1154.11 in inches
Winter Level Relative to Court Ordered 1531.61 in Inches Sea Level Elevation Decimal Feet Sea Level Elevation
Feet/Inches
N/A 5.51 1.68 7.68 1154.25 1154 3
N/A
5.49 1.44 7.44 1154.23 1154 2.76
N/A 5.47 1.20 7.20 1154.21 1154 2.52
N/A 5.45 0.96 6.96 1154.19 1154 2.28
N/A 5.43 0.72 6.72 1154.17 1154 2.04
N/A 5.41 0.48 6.48 1154.15 1154 1.80
N/A 5.39 0.24 6.24 1154.13 1154 1.56
Summer Legal Level 5.37 0 6 1154.11 1154 1.32
N/A 5.35 -0.24 5.76 1154.09 1154 1.08
N/A 5.33 -0.48 5.52 1154.07 1154 0.84
N/A
5.31 -0.72 5.28 1154.05 1154 0.60
N/A 5.29 -0.96 5.04 1154.03 1154 0.36
N/A 5.27 -1.20 4.80 1154.01 1154 0.12
N/A 5.25 -1.44 4.56 1153.99 1153 11.88
N/A 5.23 -1.68 4.32 1153.97 1153 11.64
N/A 5.21 -1.92 4.08 1153.95 1153 11.40
There is a 6 inch difference between summer and winter
maximum.
5.19 -2.16 3.84 1153.93 1153 11.16
N/A
5.17 -2.40 3.60 1153.91 1153 10.92
N/A
5.15 -2.64 3.36 1153.89 1153 10.68
N/A
5.13 -2.88 3.12 1153.87 1153 10.44
N/A 5.11 -3.12 2.88 1153.85 1153 10.20
N/A 5.09 -3.36 2.64 1153.83 1153 9.96
N/A 5.07 -3.60 2.40 1153.81 1153 9.72
N/A
5.05 -3.84 2.16 1153.79 1153 9.48
N/A 5.03 -4.08 1.92 1153.77 1153 9.24
N/A 5.01 -4.32 1.68 1153.75 1153 9
N/A 4.99 -4.56 1.44 1153.73 1153 8.76
N/A 4.97 -4.80 1.20 1153.71 1153 8.52
N/A 4.95 -5.04 0.96 1153.69 1153 8.28
N/A 4.93 -5.28 0.72 1153.67 1153 8.04
N/A 4.91 -5.52 0.48 1153.65 1153 7.80
N/A 4.89 -5.76 0.24 1153.63 1153 7.56
Winter Legal Level 4.87 -6 0 1153.61 1153 7.32
N/A 4.85 -6.24 -0.24 1153.59 1153 7.08
N/A 4.83 -6.48 -0.48 1153.57 1153 6.84
N/A 4.81 -6.72 -0.72 1153.55 1153 6.60
N/A 4.79 -6.96 -0.96 1153.53 1153 6.36
N/A 4.77 -7.20 -1.20 1153.51 1153 6.12
N/A 4.75 -7.44 -1.44 1153.49 1153 5.88
N/A 4.73 -7.68 -1.68 1153.47 1153 5.64
N/A 4.71 -7.92 -1.92 1153.45 1153 5.40
N/A 4.69 -8.16 -2.16 1153.43 1153 5.16
N/A 4.67 -8.40 -2.40 1153.41 1153 4.92
N/A 4.65 -8.64 -2.64 1153.39 1153 4.68