Watershed

Huron River at Island Lake State Park

Huron River at Island Lake State Park

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water, such as a river or creek.  A watershed, also called a drainage basin or catchment, embodies all the life-sustaining connections and interconnections that provide us with clean water.  There is a fundamental and inseparable connection between water and land.

A watershed can be as small as a few acres draining into a farm pond, or as large as several thousand square miles for a major river system, such as the Mississippi, or a large inland lake, such as Lake Michigan or Lake Erie.  The Huron River drains into Lake Erie, so all of the land in the Huron River Watershed is also part the Lake Erie Watershed, which is a part of the Great Lakes Watershed.

A classic river watershed is drained by creeks and streams, in a pattern similar to the veins of a leaf.  Each creek has its own small watershed known as a creekshed. In a river system, the creeks that merge into the river form the river’s watershed.  Whether small, medium or large, all watersheds share similarities of form and function, yet each one is ecologically unique.

From the core connection between water and land, other complex relationships emerge, between and among animals and plants and their habitats, the habitats and humans, humans and the environment, and humans and their communities.  The ecology of each watershed embraces all of these relationships.

The Huron River Watershed

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. About 1200 miles of creeks and streams flow into the Huron’s main branch. The river’s drainage area includes seven Michigan counties (Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe), 63 municipal governments, and 650,000 residents. The spectrum of land use and water environments ranges across remote natural preserves, cultivated farmland, urban and industrial centers, suburban sprawl, and a diversity of lakes, ponds, wetlands, creeks, and streams.

Huron River Watershed

Huron River Watershed

Huron River Watershed is in Southeast Michigan

Huron River Watershed is in Southeast Michigan

 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wrote an assessment of the Huron River Watershed in 1995. Download this report!

 




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