Davis Creek flows through land enriched by glaciers with deep deposits of sand and gravel. Its watershed is one of the largest in the Huron River, draining 57 square miles. The creek’s gentle slope (averaging 6 feet per mile) is one of the flattest in the Huron watershed, resulting in a meandering creek with numerous ponds and lakes. There are 91 ponds (open water <10 acres) and 18 lakes (open water > 10 acres) in the Davis Creekshed.
The townships of Green Oak, Lyon, Northfield, Salem; cities of South Lyon and Novi; Livingston County Drain Commissioner; and the Oakland and Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioners all make decisions that affect the creek. Due to the numerous jurisdictions in the creekshed many of the branches have numerous names.
In 1855 Ann Davis and her husband William Osborne leased ½ acre of their land on Silver Lake Road to build the original Green Oak Township Hall. From 1891 to 1924 farmers petitioned their county’s Drain Commissioners to drain the creekshed’s wetlands for farming. Numerous small gravel pits were dug in the northern half of both Green Oak and Lyon Townships around 1915. By 1927, this area had the largest sand and gravel operation in the country. Gravel extraction continues today, but on a far smaller scale.
While most of this creek lies in rapidly developing areas, Davis Creek is one of the highest quality streams in the Huron River Watershed. It is lovely to canoe on the lower stretches, where endangered species of fish and mussels are thriving. The creek is one of only three creeks in the Huron River Watershed with special status as a State Natural River Zone (from the outlet of Sandy Bottom Lake to the Huron River).