We monitor chemistry and flow, assess habitat, and identify plants and river bugs that are sensitive to changes in the environment to gauge the health of land and water throughout the watershed.
We use our data to make informed recommendations to decision makers and practitioners on policy and other ways they can support clean water.
In the watershed we give nature a chance to recover. For example, we restore habitat, remove dams, and turn artificially straightened creek channels into curvy creeks to benefit aquatic life.
We connect people to the river by providing information and volunteer opportunities. We also work with local governments and businesses to feature the scenic Huron River in their communities and promote recreation.
Biological and Habitat Monitoring
We have been monitoring our watershed’s rivers and creeks for over 20 years so we can carefully track changes in our water. River Roundup volunteers work with our scientists to collect and identify river creatures, take water samples, and assess stream habitat.
Chemistry and Flow Monitoring
Volunteers collect water samples and take flow measurements. We lead this program for communities in the Middle Huron Initiative (MHI), the Alliance for Downriver Watersheds, and the Livingston Watershed Advisory Group (WAG).
Natural Areas Assessments
We partner with local communities, land conservancies, and property owners to assess and protect natural areas. We then work on creative solutions to protect high quality natural areas.
We partner with businesses, governments, and community leaders to spark a river renaissance by investing in river recreation, local economic development, and improving the health of the river.
We bring together community partners to examine the changing climate and how communities in the watershed and Michigan can maintain quality of life under projected scenarios. We also do restoration projects that help the river prepare for climate change.
Watershed Management Planning
One of our core functions is to create watershed management plans (WMPs) that serve as roadmaps for local governments, stakeholders, and other development planners. Our WMPs outline ways for communities to address problems in our watershed while growing their economies and infrastructure to meet the needs of residents and businesses.
We partner with developers, land use planners, and local governments to incorporate nature into infrastructure planning and projects. We plant rain gardens in public areas, promote shoreline buffer zones, and green streets to absorb stormwater runoff.
Clean-up and Restoration
We partner with local groups to clean up trash in the river. We’ve also built structures to support wildlife habitats such a rock vanes for fish and platforms for Osprey.
Education, Outreach, and Knowledge Networks
We partner with schools and other organizations to share our knowledge and inspire watershed protection among students of all ages. We also organize and present at conferences, consult on public outreach, and connect people to the right organization or government department to resolve an issue or inquiry.
ADVOCACY AND POLICY
HRWC works with citizens and local and state representatives to enact policies and ordinances to protect the watershed’s land and water. Examples include banning toxic coal tar road sealants, speaking out against ground water contamination such as dioxane, and providing information on new areas of concern with lawmakers.
Dams and Impoundments
HRWC assesses the systematic problems caused by the one hundred dams in our watershed. We work with communities, dam owners, and dam operators to improve dam functionality or restore the river through strategic dam removal.
Michigan River and Lake Monitoring
HRWC trains and assists individuals and organizations throughout the state with consistent water and lakes monitoring. We partner with the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) for the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program and the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program.
HRWC partners with communities in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Huron areas to monitor water quality and address stormwater runoff. These municipal partnerships include the Livingston Watershed Advisory Group, the Middle Huron Stormwater Advisory Group, and the Alliance of Downriver Watersheds. A voluntary cooperative group known as the Middle Huron Initiative also works to specifically address phosphorus pollution in Ford and Belleville lakes.
The Livingston Watershed Advisory Group (WAG) is a collaborative membership group. HRWC developed watershed management plans for the Huron Chain of Lakes and Upper Shiawassee River watersheds in Livingston County with this group. The WAG now works together to implement activities that were recommended by those plans. They are also interested in adding the Red Cedar River watershed.
The Middle Huron Program sets actions to reduce pollution in the middle section of the Huron River Watershed. Go here to access the Middle Huron Initiative and the Middle Huron Stormwater Advisory Group pages.
HRWC has worked with communities in the lower Huron for many years: first we facilitated and produced a stormwater management plan. Today, we work with several committees, which have formally merged to create the Alliance for Downriver Watersheds (ADW), to carry out the plan. HRWC monitors the river and tributaries for the ADW and provides outreach materials for the area's communities to distribute.
We offer stream-side and in-school programming to teach students about water quality and ways to protect the watershed.
After finding e. coli pollution in the Honey Creek tributary, we are identifying areas that are the source of the contamination and sharing the word about pet waste and the importance of maintaining septic tanks.