Thanks go to Webster Township, which joins Scio, Hamburg, and Green Oak townships for adopting ordinance standards that follow the State’s Natural Rivers Program’s Huron River Natural River District (NRD) standards.

Natural River Map Zone
Designated Natural River District zones of the Huron River

Much of the Huron River between Kent Lake and Barton Pond, and parts of Arms, Mill, and Davis creeks have enjoyed designation as a “Country Scenic Natural River” since 1979. This protective designation has contributed to the “up north” feel of the Huron River and provides unique access to the wild beauty of South East Michigan for anglers and paddlers alike.

To keep these areas scenic and healthy, local property owners need to follow special NRD development standards within 400 feet of the river and creeks.

These standards help the Huron to maintain not only its natural look, but also its ecological health, leading to a collection of community benefits

  • Enhanced recreation and aesthetic enjoyment
  • Improved habitat for fisheries and wildlife
  • Floodplain management and stream bank stabilization and
    erosion control

Four of the five governments within the Natural River District have now adopted jurisdiction over the NRD as it flows through their communities.  This means that residents and businesses wishing to build within the NRD do not need to get a special permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).  Instead, the NRD review occurs along with the regular building permit review conducted by the township.

The local jurisdiction also allows for better oversight in the NRD, as there are local “eyes” on the river.  Without local jurisdiction, this task would fall to the half-time staff person at the MDNR’s Gaylord office, who also administrators the NRD’s in all of lower Michigan.

If you live in the following communities and want to makes changes to your property within 400 feet of the River or Arms Creek (see map), or if you are out on the river and see land clearing or building in the NRD, contact:

Webster Township

Randy Raiford; Zoning Administrator; (734) 426-5103;

Green Oak Township

Debra McKenzie; Planning and Zoning Administrator; (810) 231-1333 x 104;

Hamburg Township

Scott Pacheco; (810) 231-1000 x 221;

Scio Township; (734) 369-9400