About the Huron River Watershed Council

Footbridge at Pickerel Lake, Dexter Twp by Marc Aikeman

Footbridge at Pickerel Lake, Dexter Twp by Marc Aikeman

Founded in 1965, the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) is southeast Michigan’s oldest environmental organization dedicated to river protection.   The Huron River Watershed Council protects and restores the river for healthy and vibrant communities.

HRWC  is a nonprofit coalition of Huron Valley residents, businesses, and local governments.  The Council bridges political boundaries by building partnerships between and among communities, community leaders, residents, and commercial enterprises.  Serving those constituencies, HRWC monitors the Huron River, its tributaries, lakes, and groundwater, and directs multiple programs addressing pollution prevention and abatement, wetland and floodplain protection, citizen education, and natural resource and land-use planning.

Since it was formed, the Council has served as a place where local units of government and citizens have discussed problems and sought solutions to critical issues affecting the River.  Even though the Council has no enforcement powers, it has accomplished its goals through the use of technical data, factual information and citizen stewardship to influence decisions made by various local and state agencies.

Where is the Huron River Watershed Located?

In southeastern Michigan, the Huron River Watershed spans a land area of more than 900 square miles and drains water to the Huron River through hundreds of tributary creeks and streams. The river itself flows more than 125 miles from its headwaters at Big Lake, near Pontiac, to its mouth at Lake Erie. The river’s drainage area includes seven Michigan counties (Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe), 63 municipal governments, and a half million residents.

What does the Huron River Watershed Council do?

Mission Statement: The mission of the Council is to protect and restore the river for healthy and vibrant communities.

Vision: We envision a future of clean and plentiful water for people and nature where citizens and government are effective and courageous champions for the Huron River and its watershed.

Core Values: To achieve this, we do the following:

  • We work with a collaborative and inclusive spirit to give all partners the opportunity to become stewards;
  • We generate science-based, trustworthy information for decision makers to ensure reliable supplies of clean water and resilient natural systems; and
  • We passionately advocate for the health of the river and the lands around it.

Stream monitoring by volunteers: HRWC has developed the premiere citizen-monitoring network in the State. Our strong quality assurance and quality control mechanisms allow agencies to confidently use this data to direct water protection programs.

Educating the public: HRWC has an award-winning mass media campaign aimed at changing behaviors to keep our water safe and clean.

Reducing Pollution: HRWC’s work on phosphorus pollution produced numerous ordinances to protect natural areas, provide stronger protection of wetlands, and to reduce conversion of land and natural habitat to pavement and buildings.

Assisting Communities on Water Issues: HRWC’s science and policy experts respond daily to residents and government representatives to help them manage development in ways that protect creeks, wildlife, and natural features.

Protecting Drinking Water: HRWC has written an award-winning guidebook that communities throughout Michigan are using to develop drinking water protection plans.

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