SURVEYOR'S PEER GROUP
Surveyor's Peer Group. The surveyors meet at the second floor Board of Commissioners room at 219 Paw Paw Street in Paw Paw on the last Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM to work on monumentation of the section corners in Van Buren County.
Early in our nations history there was a need for a logical and systematic system to sell and develop the lands west of the thirteen colonies. In 1784 Thomas Jefferson and several military engineers developed a rectangular survey system. On May 20, 1785 the Continental Congress approved this system that is today know as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS).
Looking at a county map you will find the County divided into Townships. Each Standard Township is divided into square miles, which are numbered from 1 to 36. These square miles are referred to as Sections. When Government Surveyors originally laid out these Townships and Sections (1829/1830 in Van Buren County), a wooden stake was placed at each Section Corner. Another stake was set half between each Section Corner and was called a Quarter Post. The Remonumentation Program was created to perpetuate all the government monuments in the State of Michigan under Public Act No. 345 of the Public Acts of 1990. This mandatory program is funded through State Grants, together with County monies. The State Grant money is secured by collecting a three-dollar recording fee for all documents recorded at the Register of Deeds in each county. This money is then sent to the State where it is pooled and redistributed to all counties using a three-part formula. The County money ($15,000 currently) is considered a contribution reflecting its responsibility to maintain the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). The State of Michigan will provide $86,156 this year for this program to our County. The average cost of replacing a government monument today is about $1000.00. Some property surveys require the use of several government corners to establish the correct boundaries. If any of these corners need to be restored, the person who ordered the survey (property owner) would be required to pay the additional cost. As the government corners are remonumented through this program these additional cost will diminish.
As of the end of 2002 we have set 667 of the estimated 2333 government corners in Van Buren County. We are averaging about 65 corners per year. In addition to this we have also researched the survey history on each of the monumentalized government corners (a history is necessary for the review and approval of each monument to be restored). The total estimated time to complete the restoration of the government monuments in Van Buren County is sixty years. However State wide we are finding this is not enough time to do the work. There is far more work involved than originally estimated by the State. This is due mainly to the lack of maintenance of these monuments over the years. The goal for this program is to restore all the government corners, assign coordinates to each monument and to maintain the system once completed.
Specific details can be obtained from Lisa Boer, Grant Administrator for this program