Bogs, Do's and don'ts

Asked January 29, 2020, 4:28 PM EST

We recently purchased a property with some significant bog area. Will these bogs continue to grow? at what rate? is there anything to be done to retard their growth? can I make a pond out of a bog? septic alternatives around a bog?

Cass County Michigan

1 Response

Hello, thank you for using eXtension for your wetland question, and what a great question it is. The best and shortest answer is, it depends. Bog size growth or shrinkage depends upon the weather, annual rainfall is typically the key in recharging this unique kind of wetland. If you can determine what your steady or static groundwater levels are for your area you can establish the base water depth and then monitor the water level variations from that. There is not much you can do to "retard" the growth of a bog short of draining it. Something I never recommended unless homes are at risk. I recommend that have a conversation with your drain commissioner about that if needed.
this past year was a high rainfall year so the size of the bog should be at its maximum right now. This is a good time to delineate it to know where it will fill to when full in the future. Typically, summer months bring less rain and with the hot weather the bog may reduce some. Dredging a wetland to create an open water pond is permitted if it is under 5 acres and not connected to any other contiguous body of water. If it is more than 5 acres in size or connected to a lake, river or larger wetland system you will require an EGLE permit to make any changes to it, including dredging.
Septic systems near wetlands are usually mound systems. These are a bit more expensive but add a protective layer to the septic system to prevent contamination of the wetland.