Drainage easements are obtained for specific uses such as storm water conveyance, in open ditches, underground tiles, a floodplain or as access routes for operating, maintaining or repairing a County Drain. Drainage easements are not to be considered public areas and are not open to the public.
Property owners retain land ownership, but are restricted from building permanent structures that may interfere with or reduce drainage and/or temporary storage capacity or may impede drain maintenance of surface or subsurface systems within the easement area. This includes, but is not limited to; swimming pools, sheds, garages, patios, decks, fences or other permanent structures or landscaping features.
Easement width varies from drain to drain depending on the drain’s size and type. Some easements are of an unspecified width.
Easements obtained prior to 1956 were not required by law to be recorded with the Berrien County Register of Deeds office and are considered properly recorded if they are on file in the County Drain Commissioner’s office. It is important to check with both offices to determine if a drainage easement exists on your property.