Kalamazoo Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04050003

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Watershed Overview

The Kalamazoo River watershed covers 2,030 square miles and drains eight counties in Southwest Lower Michigan and discharges into Lake Michigan at Saugatuck, Michigan. The Upper Kalamazoo tributary areas have several kettle moraine lakes, interlobate headwater streams (Lake Michigan drainage),and large rivers in southwest Michigan till plains (not coastal reach). The Kalamazoo River is an Area of Concern due to PCB contamination.

The Nature Conservancy has identified several important ecological areas, species, and resources throughout the watershed.

  • Allegan Barrens: Allegan Barrens have Lakeplain Wet-Mesic Prairie, Inland Coastal Plain Marsh, Lakeplain Wet Prairie, Central Water Lily Aquatic Wetland, and Interdunal Wetland. The barrens provide habitat for several threatened and endangered species including, the Eastern Massasauga, Ottoe’s Skipper, Karner Blue Butterfly, Sprague’s Pygartic, Hall’s Bulrush, and Reticulated or Netted Bulrush.
  • Fort Custer: Fort Custer has several important large, deep, stream-connected lakes. Critical ecological systems include Central Tallgrass Prairie, Cinquefoil-Sedge Prairie Fen, Red Maple – Ash – (Elm) Swamp Forest, White Oak – Red Oak/Early Meadow-Rue Forest, Silver Maple – Elm (Cottonwood) Forest, and White Oak – Red Oak Dry-Mesic Forest. Fort Custer provides habitat to the Eastern Massasauga, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, and Blanding’s Turtle.
  • Headwaters: Headwaters have Leatherleaf Bog, interlobate headwater streams (Lake Michigan drainage), kettle moraine lakes, large rivers in southwest Michigan till plains, (not coastal reach), and tributary streams in medium textured moraines (southern Ionia moraines).
  • The Spring Brook-Kalamazoo Nature Center: The Spring Brook-Kalamazoo Nature Center has the endangered Mitchell’s Satyr (which is found in small numbers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland).
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Watershed Activities

Improving water quality and preserving aquatic habitat are among the highest priorities for the watershed. Runoff from agriculture and developed land has created impairments for excessive nutrients and sedimentation for several streams throughout the watershed. Erosion and stream stability have also been problematic throughout parts of the watershed.

Kalamazoo River Area of Concern

The upstream boundary of the Kalamazoo River Area of Concern (AOC) is Morrow Dam, which forms Morrow Pond, and the AOC extends downstream to Lake Michigan, a distance of approximately eighty miles. The city of Kalamazoo is situated along the AOC reach, and the city of Battle Creek is not far upstream. The Calkins Dam forms a reservoir of 1,600 acres (Lake Allegan) between Kalamazoo and Lake Michigan that traps most sediments and associated contaminants transported by the river. Between Morrow Dam and Lake Allegan are several smaller, decommissioned hydroelectric dams that are partially removed but may soon require further removal or repair due to their decrepit state. The dam removal effort will be complicated by the contaminated sediments trapped behind the dams.

Of the 14 beneficial uses, these are impaired for Kalamazoo River:

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Beach closings
  • Degradation of aesthetics
  • Bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) process identified eight of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement's 14 beneficial uses as being impaired. Beneficial use impairments in the AOC include Restrictions on Fish & Wildlife Consumption, Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations, Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems, Degradation of Benthos, Restrictions on Dredging Activities, Beach Closings, Degradation of Aesthetics, and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. More details on these impairments, including a list of information sources, can be found in the Kalamazoo River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) (http://www.glc.org/spac/rapdocs.html)

Watershed Groups

  • Kalamazoo River Watershed Council – www.kalamzooriver.org/Mambo
  • The Forum of Greater Kalamazoo – www.theforum.org
  • Four Townships Water Resources Council – www.kbs.msu.edu/ftwrc
  • Calhoun Conservation District – www.calhouncd.org
  • Allegan Conservation District – www.allegancd.org
  • Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi (Gun Lake Band)
  • Lake Allegan/Kalamazoo River TMDL Implementation Committee – www.kalamazooriver.com

For more information, see the USEPA “Surf Your Watershed” website at http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=04050003 or contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment at 517-335-6969 to request a copy of the following reports:

  • MI/DEQ/WB-05/066, “A Biological Survey of the Sites in the Upper Kalamazoo River Watershed, Calhoun and Jackson Counties, Michigan, Aug 2004”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-05/067, “A Biological Survey of Sites in the North and South Branches of the Kalamazoo River Watershed, Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties, Michigan, Aug 2004”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-05/064, “A Biological Survey of the Kalamazoo River and Selected Tributaries from the Cit of Battle Creek to Lake Michigan, Jul-Sept 2004”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-05/065, “A Biological Survey of Sites in the Battle Creek River Watershed, Barry, Calhoun, and Eaton Counties, Michigan, June and Aug 2004”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-04/041, “A Biological Survey of Sites in the Rabbit River Watershed, Allegan County, Michigan, June and Aug 2003”
  • MI/DEQ/WB-03/103, “Water Quality Monitoring of Lake Allegan and Select Stations on the Kalamazoo River, 2002”

Watershed Management Plans

  • Battle Creek River and Rice Creek Watershed – Calhoun Conservation District
  • Davis Creek Watershed – Forum of Greater Kalamazoo
  • Davis, Gourdneck and Portage Creeks – City of Portage
  • Four Townships Area – Four Townships Water Resources Council
  • Greater Battle Creek Area – Battle Creek Area Clean Water Partners
  • Gun and Rabbit River Watershed – Allegan Conservation District
  • Portage and Arcadia Creek – Forum of Greater Kalamazoo
  • Mainstem 3 Corridor Watershed – Kalamazoo Stormwater Workgroup
  • Kalamazoo River Watershed, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council – www.kalamazooriver.org

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04050003 - Kalamazoo

USGS State Information and Contacts:

Current Water Data:

All Water Data (Current and Historic Sites):

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Current Regional/National Conditions:

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EPA Links for the Kalamazoo - HUC 04050003:

Impaired (303d) Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA website at: http://iaspub.epa.gov/tmdl_waters10/huc_rept.control?p_huc=04050003&p_huc_desc=Kalamazoo River

Kalamazoo303d.jpg

Subwatersheds for The Kalamazoo River Watershed

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HUC Watershed Name
04050003 0101 Upper North Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0102 Spring Arbor and Concord Drain
04050003 0103 Middle North Branch Kalamzoo River
04050003 0104 Lower North Branch Kalamzoo River
04050003 0201 Horseshoe Lake-South Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0202 Cobb Lake-South Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0203 Beaver Creek-South Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0204 Swains Lake Drain-South Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0205 Lampson Run Drain
04050003 0206 South Branch Kalamazoo River
04050003 0301 Narrow Lake-Battle Creek
04050003 0302 Relaid Mills Drain-Battle Creek
04050003 0303 Big Creek
04050003 0304 Headwaters Indian Creek
04050003 0305 Indian Creek
04050003 0306 Dillon Relaid Drain-Battle Creek
04050003 0307 Townline Brook Drain-Battle Creek
04050003 0308 Ackley Creek-Battle Creek
04050003 0309 Clear Creek-Battle Creek
04050003 0310 Headwaters Wanadoga Creek
04050003 0311 Wanadonga Creek
04050003 0312 Battle Creek
04050003 0401 Headwaters South Branch Rice Creek
04050003 0402 South Branch Rice Creek
04050003 0403 North Branch Rice Creek
04050003 0404 Wilder Creek
04050003 0405 Rice Creek
04050003 0406 Montcalm Lake-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0407 Buckthorn Lake-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0408 Pigeon Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0409 Harper Creek
04050003 0410 Minges Creek
04050003 0411 Willow Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0501 Headwaters Wabascon Creek
04050003 0502 Wabascon Creek
04050003 0503 Harts Lake-Kalamzoo River
04050003 0504 Sevenmile Creek
04050003 0505 Headwaters Augusta Creek
04050003 0506 Augusta Creek
04050003 0507 Gull Creek
04050003 0508 Eagle Lake-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0509 Morrow Lake-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0601 Comstock Creek
04050003 0602 West Fork Portage Creek
04050003 0603 Portage Creek
04050003 0604 Davis Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0605 Spring Brook
04050003 0606 Averill Lake-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0607 Silver Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0701 Gun Lake-Gun River
04050003 0702 Fenner Creek-Gun River
04050003 0703 Gun River
04050003 0801 Green Lake Creek
04050003 0802 Fales Drain-Rabbit River
04050003 0803 Miller Creek
04050003 0804 Bear Creek
04050003 0805 Buskirk Creek-Rabbit River
04050003 0806 Headwaters Little Rabbit River
04050003 0807 Little Rabbit River
04050003 0808 Pigeon Creek-Rabbit River
04050003 0809 Black Creek
04050003 0810 Silver Creek-Rabbit River
04050003 0811 Rabbit River
04050003 0901 Sand Creek
04050003 0902 Base Line Creek
04050003 0903 Pine Creek
04050003 0904 Schnable Brook
04050003 0905 Trowbridge Dam-Kalamazoo River
04050003 906 Tannery Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0907 Lake Allegan
04050003 0908 Swan Creek
04050003 0909 Bear Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0910 Mann Creek
04050003 0911 Peach Orchard Creek-Kalamazoo River
04050003 0912 Kalamazoo River