Betsie-Platte Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 04060104
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Watershed Overview

The Betsie-Platte Watershed is an eight digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) watershed located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula with an area of 812 square miles. It is one of 33 major subwatersheds of the Lake Michigan basin. Its Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) is 04060104.

The basin was known for a large logging industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s that led to deep sand deposits in the rivers and creeks and roads cut through forests. Attempts at crop farming the cut over land proved largely unsuccessful due to poor soils although the area is known for orchards and vineyards.

A majority of the watershed is forested with large stretches being State forest and Federal parklands.

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Native plant species in the area range from the extremely drought tolerant species Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uvaursi) and Stiff Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata) to the wetland species of Blue Flag Iris (Iris veriscolor) and Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). More unusual species include the Red Milkweed or Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), desired by the Monarch Butterfly as the favorite food source for the larvae.

The watershed is home to critical habitat identified by the Nature Conservancy which includes: Great Lakes Hemlock - Beech - Hardwood Forest, Great Lakes Beachgrass Dune, Great Lakes Shoreline Cattail - Bulrush Marsh, Great Lakes Dune Pine Forest, Great Lakes Beachgrass Dune, Interdunal Wetland.

Critical species identified by the Nature Conservancy and other partners include Prairie Moonwort, Prairie Dunewort, Piping Plover, Pitcher's Thistle, and Michigan Monkey-flower.

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool for the Betsie-Platte Wateshed. This site has interactive watershed-based information on industrial facilities discharge sites, toxic release inventory, permit compliance system, water quality stations, bacteria stations, national sediment inventory stations, best management practices, water quality observation stations, weather data stations, impaired waters (reach and area), landcover change (1992-2001), landuse 2001, soil, and elevation.

Watershed Priorities

Identified Platte River impairments include fertilizers; human and animal waste; oils, toxic chemicals, and salt; sediment; heated runoff; altered stream; pesticides; bacteria; and channel flow. The watershed has listed impairments for mercury, PCB and chlordane fish consumption advisories for a limited number of waterbodies (see table on opposite page). The watershed has seen significant erosion at stream crossings and has significant sedimentation.

Watershed and environmental groups have been undertaking significant projects to protect and restore the watershed. The primary focus of the protection and restoration efforts include:

  • Improving water quality and Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.
  • Removing manmade drainage features on former farmland to reduce excess storm water runoff.
  • Purchase of easements to protect open space and improve environmental functions.
  • Protecting ecologically sensitive areas like wetlands and their associated forests as well as undeveloped shoreline.
  • Protected sensitive “dune and swale” topography at Sleeping Bear Dunes. The area is recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as “globally rare habitat.”
  • Remove invasive species and restore dunes in the Greater Point Betsie landscape. The project facilitates activity at the greater Pt. Betsie landscape to remove invasives and restore dunes to benefit the rare natural communities, including Pitcher's thistle, a threatened species.
  • Improve habitat for critical species like the piping plover.

Watershed Groups Operating within the Betsie-Platte Watershed

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04060104 - Betsie-Platte

USGS State Information and Contacts:

Current Water Data:

All Water Data (Current and Historic Sites):

Other Data Links:

Current Regional / National Conditions:

Search USGS for Links, Publications and Web Sites Associated with:

'EPA Links for Betsie-Platte - HUC 04060104:'

Invasive Species

To report invasive species, you can send an alert via e-mail or call 1-877-STOP-ANS.

303(d) Impaired Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website for the Betsie-Platte watershed


Watershed Management Tools

Tools for addressing impairments in the watershed can be found at the Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan Watershed Tools page.

The primary problems found in the Betsie-Platte Watershed are associated with fish advisories, runoff, e.coli impairing swimming, among others. Specific Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan Watershed Tools can be found at the following pages:

12-Digit Subwatersheds Located within the Betsie-Platte Watershed

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HUC Watershed Name
04060104 0101 Cedar Run
04060104 0102 Mehert Creek-Lake Leelanau
04060104 0103 Lake Leelanau
04060104 0201 Long Lake-Platte River
04060104 0202 Bronson Lake-Platte River
04060104 0203 Pearl Lake
04060104 0204 North Branch Platte River
04060104 0205 Collison Creek-Platte River
04060104 0206 Platte River
04060104 0301 Duck Lake
04060104 0302 Green Lake
04060104 0303 Little Betsie River-Betsie River
04060104 0304 Dair Creek-Betsie River
04060104 0305 Crystal Lake Outlet
04060104 0306 Rice Creek-Betsie River
04060104 0307 Betsie River
04060104 0401 Shalda Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
04060104 0402 Crystal Run
04060104 0403 Otter Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
04060104 0404 Arcadia Lake
04060104 0405 Portage Lake
04060104 0406 Lower Herring Lake-Frontal Lake Michigan

Information on other Lake Michigan subwatersheds can be found at Lake Michigan Subwatershed Information

Additional Links

For more information,