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Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Ben-Way Lake

Like other long, slender lakes in the upper Elk River Chain of Lakes, Ben–Way Lake is shallow near its inlet and deeper toward the outlet end of the lake. There are large expanses of wetland at the northwestern end and the southern end of the lake.

127 acres

OF SURFACE AREA

2.8 miles

OF SHORELINE

42 feet

MAX DEPTH

Overview of Ben-Way Lake

Primary Inflows

Headwaters

Primary Outflows

Surface Area

127 acres

Shoreline

2.8 miles

Maximum Depth

42 feet

Known Aquatic Invasive Species

Description:

Like other long, slender lakes in the upper Elk River Chain of Lakes, Ben–Way Lake is shallow near its inlet and deeper toward the outlet end of the lake. This is likely the result of the ‘upstream’ end gradually filling with sediments that wash in from the inlet river. 

There are large expanses of wetland at the northwestern end of Ben–Way Lake (where it is fed by the Intermediate River from Wilson Lake) and the southern end of the lake (where it empties through the Green River into Hanley Lake). The limited development in these areas helps protect the lake’s water quality and preserve aquatic plant and animal life.

Ogletree Creek is a small tributary that enters Ben–Way Lake near the lake’s outlet. Due to the amount of sediment transported by the creek, a sand delta has formed at its mouth. Sediments naturally wash into creeks, but the process is often accelerated by landscape development. Eroding soils from construction sites, foot paths, and road-stream crossings are examples of sediment sources that occur following landscape development.

Ben–Way Lake supports a healthy warm-water fish community that includes northern pike, black crappie, yellow perch, yellow bullhead, black bullhead, smallmouth bass, walleye, Iowa darter, johnny darter, bluntnose minnow, common shiner, bluegill, cisco, rock bass, pumpkinseed, longnose gar, and white sucker.

Monitoring and Research:

Ben–Way Lake is monitored every three years through the Watershed Council’s Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring (CWQM) Program for dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, pH, nitrate-nitrogen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chloride levels.

Water transparency, chlorophyll-a, and water temperature are also monitored in Ben–Way Lake each summer by volunteers as part of the Watershed Council’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring (VLM) Program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer on another lake in the Chain, please contact the Watershed Council at 231-347-1181.

Three Lakes Association
Three Lakes Association
The mission of the Three Lakes Association is to provide leadership to preserve, protect, and improve the environmental quality of the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed for all generations with emphasis on Lake Bellaire, Clam Lake, Torch Lake and their tributaries.
P.O. Box 689, Bellaire, Michigan, 49615
231-412-7551

Additional Resources:

A wide variety of maps for this area are available online at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) Data Resources page.

TitleCategoriesLinkhf:doc_categories
Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring (CWQM)Bass Lake, Beals Lake, Bear River, Ben-Way Lake, Birch Lake, Black Lake, Black Lake Watershed, Black River, Boyne River, Burt Lake, Burt Lake Watershed, Carp River Watershed, Cheboygan River, Cheboygan River Watershed, Clam Lake, Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Deer Lake, Douglas Lake, Duncan-Grass Bay Watershed, Elk Lake, Elk River, Elk River Chain Of Lakes, Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed, Ellsworth Lake, Grand Traverse Bay Watershed, Hanley Lake, Huffman Lake, Intermediate Lake, Lake Bellaire, Lake Charlevoix, Lake Charlevoix Watershed, Lancaster Lake, Larks Lake, Little Traverse Bay Watershed, Long Lake, Marion Lake, Mud Lake, Mullett Lake, Mullett Lake Watershed, Munro Lake, Nowland Lake, Paradise Lake, Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Watershed, Round Lake, Scotts Lake, Silver Lake, Six Mile Lake, Skegemog Lake, Spring Lake, St. Clair Lake, Susan Lake, Thayer Lake, Thumb Lake, Torch Lake, Twin Lake, Walloon Lake, Walloon Lake Watershed, Wildwood Lake, Wilson Lakebass-lake beals-lake bear-river ben-way-lake birch-lake black-lake black-lake-watershed black-river boyne-river burt burt-lake-watershed carp-river-watershed cheboygan-river-rivers-streams cheboygan-river-watershed clam-lake crooked-lake crooked-river deer-lake douglas-lake duncan-grass-bay-watershed elk-lake elk-river elk-river-chain-of-lakes elk-river-chain-of-lakes-watershed ellsworth-lake grand-traverse-bay-watershed hanley-lake huffman-lake intermediate-lake lake-bellaire lake-charlevoix lake-charlevoix-watershed lancaster-lake larks-lake little-traverse-bay-watershed long-lake marion-lake mud-lake mullett-lake mullett-lake-watershed munro-lake nowland-lake paradise-lake pickerel-crooked-lakes-watershed round-lake scotts-lake silver-lake six-mile-lake skegemog-lake spring-lake st-clair-lake susan-lake thayer-lake thumb-lake torch-lake twin-lake walloon-lake walloon-lake-watershed wildwood-lake wilson-lake inland-lakes rivers-streams watersheds
2022 Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Management PlanBeals Lake, Ben-Way Lake, Clam Lake, EGLE/EPA Approved Watershed Management Plans, Elk Lake, Elk River, Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed, Ellsworth Lake, Hanley Lake, Intermediate Lake, Lake Bellaire, Scotts Lake, Six Mile Lake, Skegemog Lake, St. Clair Lake, Torch Lake, Wilson Lakebeals-lake ben-way-lake clam-lake watershed-plan-approved elk-lake elk-river elk-river-chain-of-lakes-watershed ellsworth-lake hanley-lake intermediate-lake lake-bellaire scotts-lake six-mile-lake skegemog-lake st-clair-lake torch-lake wilson-lake inland-lakes rivers-streams watersheds
2016 Ben Way Lake Shoreline SurveyBen-Way Lake, Elk River Chain Of Lakes, Shoreline Surveysben-way-lake elk-river-chain-of-lakes shoreline-surveys inland-lakes
2014-2015 Elk River Invasive Species Monitoring Project ReportBeals Lake, Ben-Way Lake, Clam Lake, Elk Lake, Elk River, Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed, Ellsworth Lake, Hanley Lake, Intermediate Lake, Invasive Species Monitoring, Lake Bellaire, Scotts Lake, Six Mile Lake, Skegemog Lake, St. Clair Lake, Torch Lake, Wilson Lakebeals-lake ben-way-lake clam-lake elk-lake elk-river elk-river-chain-of-lakes-watershed ellsworth-lake hanley-lake intermediate-lake invasive-species-monitoring lake-bellaire scotts-lake six-mile-lake skegemog-lake st-clair-lake torch-lake wilson-lake inland-lakes rivers-streams watersheds
2010 Elk River Chain of Lakes Profile CWQMBen-Way Lake, Clam Lake, Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring, Elk Lake, Elk River Chain Of Lakes, Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed, Ellsworth Lake, Hanley Lake, Intermediate Lake, Six Mile Lake, Skegemog Lake, St. Clair Lake, Torch Lake, Wilson Lakeben-way-lake clam-lake comprehensive-water-quality-monitoring elk-lake elk-river-chain-of-lakes elk-river-chain-of-lakes-watershed ellsworth-lake hanley-lake intermediate-lake six-mile-lake skegemog-lake st-clair-lake torch-lake wilson-lake inland-lakes watersheds

Shoreline Survey:

Elk River Chain of Lakes Shoreline Survey

Project Summary During the summers of 2016 and 2017, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council led a coordinated effort to conduct a shoreline survey for 15 Lakes in the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed. The surveys were meant to document conditions that could impact water quality, including the

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