Black-Macatawa Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04050002
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Watershed Overview

The Black-Macatawa watershed is located in west central Michigan along the shores of Lake Michigan and covers 608 square miles. 151 miles of the rivers and streams flow year round in the watershed. Holland and South Haven, Michigan are the two urban areas in the watershed and the counties located in the watershed have a population of over 594,000.

The primary land uses are agriculture and forested land. Between 1996 and 2001, there has been a slight increase in developed land and slight decreases in cultivated land, forest, and grassland

The Lake Macatawa Watershed includes all the land that drains to Lake Macatawa. There is excess sedimentation due to nonpoint sources, mainly agricultural, in the Macatawa watershed and its tributaries. The Macatawa watershed has two major tributaries: the Macatawa River and Pine Creek. The lake and all its tributaries in the Macatawa watershed are protected as designated warmwater systems.

Soil associations in the Black River watershed are generally fine sandy to sandy loam and poor to somewhat poorly drained. Large natural areas in the Black River Watershed include the Van Buren State Park, Kal-Haven Trail, and Allegan State Game Area

A significant number of impairments are related to farming activities, including excessive phosphorus loadings as a result of the use of phosphorus-based fertilizers, sedimentation from erosion and runoff. Channelization from historic dredging has removed channel diversity, reduced bank stability, and generally the quality and quantity of stream biota. Soil erosion and sedimentation are major problems throughout due to agricultural land use and urbanization and has modified drainage patterns, increased direct surface runoff and erosion.

Ottawa County, located in the wterhed, is rated as Michigan's most diverse agricultural county. Products grown include apples, asparagus, strawberries, cherries, annuals, perennials, pumpkins, squash, among others.

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool for the Black-Macatawa watershed. 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 Activities

The Noordeloos Creek Sedimentation Project, within the Lake Macatawa portion of the watershed is focused on a creek that is comprised largely of agricultural land.

Black River watershed activities include streambank stabilization and raingarden projects in two municipal parks, land conservation efforts, land use planning assistance to local municipalities to incorporate water quality objectives, and information/education activities with a strong focus on LID and landscaping for water quality. Restoration and protection activities focus on:

  • Reducing phosphorus loadings and sedimentation.
  • Implement Best Management Practices.
  • Provide long term protection of the Black River Watershed through improved local land use policies and land protection.
  • Improving water quality in lakes and streams.
  • Improving educational outreach to the community.
  • Performing watershed inventories.
  • Identifying pollutant sources and causes, identifying critical areas.
  • Gathering information about watershed from preexisting sources.
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Watershed Management Plans

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04050002 - Black-Macatawa

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 the Black-Macatawa - HUC 04050002:

Invasive Species

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

Watershed Groups

Additional Information

For more information, see the USEPA Surf Your Watershed website or contact the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality at 517-335-6969 to request a copy of the following reports:

  • MI/DEQ/WB-07/086, “Monthly Water Quality Assessment of Lake Macatawa and Its Tributaries, 2006”.
  • MI/DEQ/WB-07/014, “A Biological Survey of Sites in the Lake Macatawa Watershed. Allegan and Ottawa Counties, Michigan, Jun 2005”.
  • MI/DEQ/WB-07/062, A Biological Survey of Sites in the Pigeon River Watershed, Ottawa County, Michigan, Jul 2005”.
  • MI/DEQ/WD-03/077, “A Biological Survey of Sites on Select Lake Michigan Tributaries, Allegan and Van Buren Counties, Michigan”.
  • MI/DEQ/WD-03/067, “A Biological Survey of Sites in the Black River Watershed, Allegan and Van Buren Counties, Michigan, Aug 19 and 20, 2002”.

303(d) Impaired Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA impaired waters website.


Watershed Tools

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

Specific Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan Watershed Tools can be found at the following pages:

12-Digit Subwatersheds Located within the Betsie-Platte Watershed

Subwatersheds in the Black-Macatawa Watershed

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

HUC Watershed Name
040500020101 Plummerville Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
040500020102 Deerlick Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
040500020103 Brandywine Creek
040500020201 Headwaters North Branch Black River
040500020202 North Branch Black River
040500020203 Headwaters Middle Branch Black River
040500020204 Scott Creek Drain
040500020205 Middle Branch Black River
040500020206 Great Bear Lake Drain
040500020207 Headwaters South Branch Black River
040500020208 Maple Creek-South Branch Black River
040500020209 Cedar Creek-South Branch Black River
040500020210 South Branch Black River
040500020211 Black River
040500020301 Little Pigeon Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
040500020302 Headwaters Pigeon River
040500020303 Pigeon River
040500020401 Upper Macatawa River
040500020402 South Branch Macatawa River
040500020403 Middle Macatawa River
040500020404 North Branch Macatawa River
040500020405 Bosch and Hulst Drain
040500020406 Lower Macatawa River
040500020407 Pine Creek
040500020408 Macatawa Bay