The Sanford Lake Improvement Board was created in 1975. It's main task was to attempt to deal with excessive weed growth in the lake. The weed that was of greatest concern was a non-native species know as Eurasian Water Milfoil. Edmands Engineering was hired to study the problem and the study resulted in recommendation of a six-foot winter draw -down of the lake. This was performed over the winter of 1978-79. Approximately 6000 stumps were removed at this time as well. Slightly over $96,000 was raised through special assessments. The average lakefront lot was assessed $36.
The Board did not meet from 1981 to 1985. In 1987-88, another draw-down was conducted. A heavy snowfall occurred just after the lake was lowered and apparently hindered the effectiveness of the draw down. This project was funded from money remaining from the 1978 project.
In 1999 the Board was reconstituted by resolutions from Jerome and Edenville Townships along with the Village of Sanford. Progressive A-E was hired by the Board to develop a plan for managing the lake. The plan, subsequently developed and implemented, consisted of a number of items.
- An aquatic plant control program consisting primarily of herbicide treatments to selectively control Eurasian milfoil and limited mechanical harvesting of nuisance levels of native aquatic plants.
- A watershed management program which would focus on the annual dissemination of information to lake residents regarding proper lakeside landscaping, septic system maintenance, wetland protection, lake water quality, and ongoing lake management activities.
- Stream bank stabilization along the identified stretches of actively eroding stream banks.
- Development of a watershed management plan for Sanford Lake's immediate watershed and the submittal of a grant application for Clean Michigan Initiative Funding.
- An analysis of the recreational carry capacity of Sanford Lake as a basis for the possible regulation of funnel-type development in the future.
The three-year program had an annual budget of $190,000 and was financed by special assessments to the lakefront land owners and local municipalities. The approximate cost per lot for a lakefront owner was $126 per year.
In 2003, the program was extended for an additional three years. The three year management plan for 2004 - 2006 was more narrowly focused. It concentrated on chemical treatments and on mechanical harvesting of aquatic weeds. A continuation of the educational component with an annual newsletter was also included. An annual budget of $173,800 was established. This project was funded by use of an $86,700 surplus from the previous project and by special assessments for the remainder. The assessment on a lakefront lot was $96.00 per year.
In 2006, Edenville Township decided to break away from the Lake Improvement Board and proceed with a weed abatement program of its own. A continuation of the program for an additional four years was approved for Jerome Township and the Village of Sanford at a public hearing held on September 14, 2006. The 2007 - 2010 budget was established at $91,250.00 per year. There was a carry over of surplus funds from the previous program of $25,000. Assessments of $130.00 per lakefront lot were established.
At a public hearing held on August 5, 2010 a four year continuation of the weed control and harvesting program was approved. The annual budget for the 2011 - 2014 was set at $112,600. Assessments per lakefront lot were set at $170 per year.
The program has been extended through 2018 after a public hearing held on August 21, 2014. The annual budget is $116,500.00 with an annual assessment of $176 per lakefront lot.