Lake Water Level
2020 Depth Level Reports
In 2008, a crew from Wightman & Associates installed a staff gauge to display the current water level of Magician Lake. The gauge is located in Silver Creek on the north side of the road (Gilmore Avenue) crossing Silver Creek. Silver Creek is located on the southeast side of Magician about 1/2 mile from the east end. Wightman & Associates is an Engineering, Surveying and Architectural firm located in Benton Harbor. Cass and Van Buren counties hired them to install this gauge as well as confirm several elevations.
It is graduated in one tenth of a foot increments which is 1.2 inches (See picture above). The gauge is intended to allow anyone to see the actual lake level relative to the court ordered level of 763.0 and to provide assurance that the level is maintained. Also, any modification to or tampering with this gauge or its location or elevation can result in a $1000 fine and imprisonment.
The water level of Magician Lake is dictated by court order at 763 feet above sea level for the summer season, which is April 1st to September 30th. There is a dam in the only stream outlet (Silver Creek) from the lake. Heavy snow during the winter, heavy rains, or drought will dictate what has to be changed (if anything) to the height of the dam to try to maintain water level. Fulfilling the court order, the dam is controlled by the office of the Cass County Water Resources Commissioner. The actual control of changing the dam as warranted in an effort to maintain the proper water level is handled by an individual deputized by the Commissioner. Lake water level records are maintained and noted below.
Unusually wet spring weather has kept the lake level extremely high – even higher than last year. As you can see in the summaries of 2018 to date and the entire year of 2017, we've not been even close to where the lake should be, which is at 763 feet above sea level for the summer months from April through September. As of this writing (April 30, 2018), the average level is currently about 7 inches over where it should be (that 0.62 over 763 feet equals 7.44"). But the maximum high water was over 10" above normal. The water over the dam is free flowing and this will not be restricted until the level gets down another 7 inches, and that can't happen until evaporation and outlet flow lowers the lake level. Last year, there were several beaver dams removed from the outlet creek which was restricting outlet flow. 7" extra water will overflow some docks and seawalls on the low shores. Beware wakes along shores.
Official lake level gauge near the origin of Silver Creek taken at 5:00 PM on 10/3-19.
The lake is 1 foot or more above summer level of 763.
The following map outlines the depth (in feet) of Magician Lake.