Bioreserve Project

The Huron River headwaters begin in this wooded swamp.

The Huron River headwaters begin in this wooded swamp.


Help the Huron River watershed protect the remaining natural areas in the watershed.

The Huron is the cleanest urban river in Michigan. This is mostly due to the substantial natural areas that remain throughout the watershed – about 44% of it is still forest, wetland, and fields.

How do natural areas help the river?

Forests, prairies, wetlands and other natural areas are beautiful and important places on their own.  They also play a critical role in keeping the Huron River clean.

  • Natural areas store and absorb rainwater and melting snow. Plants soak up and filter this water before it flows into the river.
  • Rain and snow in natural areas also soaks into the groundwater, where it eventually flows back into the river in the form of springs and seeps. Along the way, that water gets filtered by the soil and cools, so it is healthier for river animals. And the steady flow of spring-water keeps the river flowing even when there’s not much rain.
  • Wetlands and low-lying natural areas absorb excess water, preventing flooding downstream.
  • Natural areas provide homes for trees and plants, habitat for wildlife, and of course offer people places to relax, play, and enjoy nature.

But natural areas are disappearing—paved over for shopping malls and subdivisions. The biggest threat to the Huron River is the loss of natural areas.

HRWC’s Bioreserve Project

To protect the Huron’s vital natural areas, the Huron River Watershed Council has launched the Bioreserve Project,  which…

  • has created a Bioreserve Map  of these remaining natural areas;
  • is helping local communities, conservancies, and state and county agencies to prioritize limited funding to preserve the best natural areas first;
  • is working with local governments to develop policies to protect natural areas;
  • is providing information to natural area landowners to help them manage and maintain there natural areas; and
  • is organizing volunteer teams to perform field assessments on these natural areas.  If you like to get outdoors and learn about ecology, join us!

Project details

Bioreserve Map

Information for natural area landowners

Information for local communities

Information for conservancies

A volunteer team assesses a bioreserve site.

A volunteer team assesses a bioreserve site.



Get Involved

Here’s a great chance to get outdoors, see beautiful natural areas, and conduct real science to help the Huron. Our volunteer teams  travel to natural areas in the watershed, where they assess the area’s environmental quality. This information helps us understand which areas are most important to preserve, and why, so that we can give helpful advice to governments and landowners who want to help protect the Huron River.”


Plant ID experts needed

HRWC’s new ONLINE PLANT GUIDE, showing all the plants identified on our bioreserve sites so far


Contact us

Dave Wilson
Donate to HRWC
Coal Tar Sealers
Huron River Water Trail
Donate to HRWC
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