What Is A Watershed?
A watershed is an area of land which drains into a particular body of water. Just as when you pour water in a bathtub, it all ends up in the drain, when it rains on the surface, that water flows to a particular body of water. That water can flow both above the ground through lakes, streams, and wetlands, or below the ground through groundwater springs.

Saginaw Bay Watershed

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

Huron County Saginaw Bay Watershed

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) was created to enhance the quality of life in the Saginaw Bay Watershed by creating regional networks of on-the-ground projects that demonstrate sustainability. These projects link economic, environmental and community goals. The partnership includes communities, conservationists, foundations, and businesses working together to balance the region's economic, environmental, and social goals.

All or part of 22 Michigan counties contribute to the watershed's 7,000 miles of rivers and streams, which contain more than 90 species of fish. In addition to supplying water to the wildlife, residents rely on the watershed for recreation, irrigation, electrical power generation, industrial processes, and drinking water.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed is one of Michigan's most diverse areas-its rich resources support agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, outdoor recreation, and a vast variety of wildlife. It is also Michigan's largest watershed and includes all or part of 22 counties and America's largest contiguous freshwater coastal wetland system. This wetland extends along the shores of Saginaw Bay and provides habitat for large populations of waterfowl, birds, and more than 90 fish species. The watershed also features more than 175 inland lakes, about 7,000 miles of rivers and streams, and drains approximately 15% of the state.
Eastern Saginaw Bay Watershed
Pigeon, Pinnebog, Sebewig
Western Saginaw Bay Watershed
AuGres, Tawas, Rifle, Pine, Kawkawlin

Rifle River Watershed

Rifle River
Huron County Rifle River Restoration Committee

The Rifle River Watershed is 253,000 acres, with a main stream over 60 miles long and fed by over 140 miles of tributaries. Land use in the watershed is 55% forest, 21% agriculture, 11% wetland, 3% urban, and 10% other uses. The upper section of the river system is considered a high-quality, coldwater river system.

Saginaw River

  The Saginaw River and Bay were designated by the International Joint Commission (IJC) as one of the major pollution areas in the Great Lakes in 1973, a year after the first Great Lakes Water Quality. Agreement between the United States and Canada was signed-a commitment by both countries to cooperatively manage their shard water resources and recommend actions for protection. In the last 30 years, major commitments have been made by local, state, and federal interests to improve the quality of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, resulting in significant improvement to the environment; however, additional work remains to be done.

Contaminated sediments, fish consumption advisories, degraded fisheries and loss of significant recreational values are the major reasons for this Area of Concern designation. These problems are mainly caused by high amounts of soil erosion, excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen entering the water, and contaminated sediments. Saginaw Bay priorities include remediation of PCB contaminated sediment, non-point pollution control, wetland restoration, and habitat restoration.

These environmental problems are caused by cultural Eutrophication (nutrients), toxic substances, bacterial contamination, and sedimentation. There are a variety of sources that continue to contribute contaminants to the Saginaw River and Bay, including sediment bed load and transport, industrial and municipal discharges, combined sewer overflows, contaminated sediments in the river and bay bottom, urban and agricultural non-point source runoff, old waste disposal sites, and atmospheric deposition.

Cass River Watershed

Cass River
Cass River

Cass River
Huron County Virtual Tour
PDF Info

The Cass River Watershed encompasses an area of 908 square miles (approx. 578,812 acres), contains 1352 total river miles and hundreds of miles of county drains. The Cass River flows to the Saginaw River and eventually to Saginaw Bay. Located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula Thumb Region the watershed includes portions of Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Saginaw, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties. Communities in the watershed include Bridgeport, Cass City, Caro, Frankenmuth, Marlette, Millington, Tuscola, Vassar, and Ubly.

Shiawassee River Basin

  The Shiawassee River Basin plays a major role in the mid-Michigan area. Its drainage area is approximately 1,200 square miles and portions of the river touch at least 7 counties. The river is about 110 miles long and generally flows in a northerly direction. The Flint River, Cass River and Tittabawassee River join the Shiawassee just southwest of the City of Saginaw and together form the Saginaw River which drains into the Saginaw Bay. Shiawassee County covers four different watersheds which include the Shiawassee River Watershed, Flint River Watershed, Maple River Watershed and Looking Glass River Watershed.

Most of the northern and central portions of the Shiawassee River basin are used for agriculture, although urban development is evident around Owosso-Corunna area and along major highways. Agricultural production in the basin includes feed grains, winter wheat, soybeans, sugar beets and a large livestock industry. Truck crops, tree fruits and small fruits are also produced in commercial quantities. Non-metallic mineral deposits such as gravel, clay, sand and shale's are found within the basin in commercial quantities. These are also great reserves of coal and natural brines underlying the basin. The forest lands in the basin are mainly farm woodlots or second growth stands of inferior species, and as a result the yield of wood products is not particularly large.

Flint River Watershed

Flint River Watershed Coalition

Huron County The Flint River Watershed Coalition
PDF Info & Tools

The Flint River has 1639 total river miles with 753 of those river miles that have water in them all the time. The Flint River Watershed is mad up of 18 smaller watersheds, such as Kearsley Creek and Swartz Creek. The Flint River Watershed encompasses more than 1358 square miles and encompasses portions of 7 counties, 20 cities & villages, and 58 townships.

Education Material
Microsoft Word Doc Environmental Protection at the City of Flint Water Pollution Control Facility
PDF City of Flint - Identifying and Reporting Water Pollution Brochure
PDF City of Flint - Public Pollution Patrol (Presentation)
PDF City of Flint -  Sewer (CSI Presentation)
PDF Stormwater vs. Rainwater (Brochure)
PDF Flint River Watershed - Canoeing Access Map
PDF Flint River Watershed - Flint River Watershed Atlas
PDF Flint River Watershed - Flint River Watershed Map
PDF Flint River Watershed -  Planning and Zoning for Water Resources Protection
PDF Applewood - What's Happening with Gilkey Creek?
PDF Landscape Performance Series - Gilkey Creek Relocation & Restoration
PDF DEQ - A Citizen's Guide to Stormwater (Brochure)
PDF Genesee County - 7 Simple Steps to Clean Water (Brochure)
PDF Saginaw Bay RC&D - The Flint River Watershed (Presentation)
PDF Saginaw Bay RC&D - Sediment Presentation
Reports (Assessments)
PDF City of Flint - Urban Watershed Assessment (September 2015)
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition - Flint Watershed Assessment (Janurary 2015)
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition (Applewood/Gilkey Creek) Water Quality Assessment 2007 - 2011
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition - Gilkey Creek Watershed Assessment Summary (Jan 2013)
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition - Hunters/Kintz Creek Water Quality Data
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition - Kearsley/Swartz Creek Watershed Assessment (June 2014)
PDF Flint River Watershed Coalition - Thread Lake Assessment (September 2014)
PDF MDEQ - Flint River Use Impairments (Chart)
PDF MDEQ - Flint River Watershed Assessment Data (Chart)
PDF Saginaw Bay Watershed - Phosphorus Pollution Loading Analysis (June 2014)
PDF Saginaw Bay RC&D Lower Flint River Water Quality Data (Chart)
Reports (Projects)
PDF Environmental Construction Management Plan - Chevy Commons
PDF FRCA - Chevy Commons Site Design Plan
PDF Kearsley/Swartz Creek - Phosphorus Pollution Reduction in the Flint River Watershed (Presentation)