Van Norman Lake Improvement Board

The slides below show how the area around Van Norman Lake has developed from 1817 to today.

Shallowness ratios range from low (less than 0.10) for lakes unlikely to be impacted to high (greater than 0.50) for lakes with a high potential for impact. Van Norman Lake has a shallowness ratio of 0.6 which indicates that the potential impact of motorized watercraft on the lake is high.


Van Norman Lake is an impoundment of the Clinton River. The lake has a relatively rapid flushing rate. On average, the entire volume of water in Van Norman Lake is replenished every 20 days.


The level of Van Norman Lake is maintained by a dam located at the east end of the lake. Van Norman Lake has a legal lake level of 966.70 feet above sea level established by circuit court order. The dam on Van Norman Lake also controls the level of upstream Greens, Maceday, Lotus and Lester Lakes. Water draining from Van Norman Lake eventually flows into Lake St. Clair.


In 2015, Van Norman Lake was surveyed to measure water depth, plant growth patterns, and bottom sediment characteristics, shown below. Click here to download a copy of the maps.

Van Norman is a relatively small lake with a surface area of 72 acres and a maximum depth of 44 feet. The lake has a mean or average depth of about 8 feet. Thus, much of the lake is shallow enough to support rooted plant growth.


Shoreline development factor indicates the degree of irregularity in the shape of the shoreline. That is, compared to a perfectly round lake with the same surface area as Van Norman Lake (i.e., 72 acres), the shoreline of Van Norman Lake is 2.5 times longer due to its convoluted shape.


The shallowness ratio compares the area of the lake less than 5 feet deep to the total lake area, and indicates the degree to which the lake bottom area is likely to be directly affected by motorized watercraft. Impacts of primary concern include sediment suspension, turbidity, and destruction of fish habitat. 

Maps prepared by Progressive AE.

Van Norman Lake Facts