Manistee Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04060103

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Watershed Overview

The Manistee River Watershed covers 1,906 square miles, with less than a half mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. The watershed has just over 15 square miles of inland lakes, 833 miles of waterways of which 93% of these waterways have been assessed. Between 1996 and 2001, there have been slight increased in developed land, and wetland, and slight decreases in cultivated land, grassland, and forest.

Fed by groundwater as its main source of hydrology, the Manistee River is one of the most stable, high-quality, coldwater streams in the country and has been designated as a natural river.

There are three waterways that have been TMDL listed. Two are listed for one contaminant and one is listed for three contaminants. Excessive sediment is the primary concern in the watershed affecting fish production, channel morphology, and aquatic invertebrates. The primary sources are from erosion from degraded streambanks and poorly designed stream crossings.

The Nature Conservancy has identified two critical ecological resources in the watershed. The Little Manistee River has Great Lakes Leatherleaf Intermittent Wetland, and the Lower Manistee River has Great Lakes Hemlock – Beech – Hardwood Forest. The Eastern Massasauga has also been found on the Manistee River.

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Watershed Activities

Watershed restoration work on the Manistee River is carried out by a diverse group of partners organized as members of the Upper Manistee River Restoration Committee. The committee is administered by Huron Pines RC&D and has actively worked on stabilizing streambanks, restoring access sites, and creating aquatic habitat. Streambanks and road/stream crossings within the Bear Creek Watershed have been targeted for repair.

In addition to the Upper Manistee River Restoration Committee’s efforts, The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians received one of the first 20 national watershed grants to support their efforts to restore and monitor the water quality of the Manistee River. They have also received a 319 grant to address four failing road stream crossings, improve access to the water’s edge, and reclaim a lake sturgeon spawning ground.

Watershed Groups

  • Upper Manistee River Association
  • Conservation Resource Alliance –
  • Little River Band or Ottawa Indians –
  • Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development Council –
  • Northwest Michigan Council of Governments –
  • Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council –

For more information, see the USEPA “Surf Your Watershed” website at or contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment at 517-335-6969 to request a copy of the following reports:

  • MI/DEQ/WD-04/031 “A Biological Survey of the Lower Manistee River and Selected Tributaries in the Counties of Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, and Kalkaska, June 6-August 17, 1999”
  • MI/DEQ/WD-04/017 “A Biological Survey of the Upper Manistee River and Selected Tributaries, Crawford County and Kalkaska County, August 17 – September 2, 1999”

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool at: 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 Management Plans

  • Little Manistee River – Conservation Resource Alliance
  • Manistee River – Conservation Resource Alliance

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04060103 - Manistee

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 Manistee - HUC 04060103:

Impaired (303d) Waters

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


Subwatersheds for the Manistee River Watershed

Information on other Lake Michigan subwatersheds can be found at:
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HUC Watershed Name
04060103 0101 Frenchman Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0102 Goose Creek
04060103 0103 Lost Lake-Manistee River
04060103 0104 Portage Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0105 Black Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0106 Manistee Lake-North Branch Manistee River
04060103 0107 Big Cannon Lake
04060103 0108 North Branch Manistee River
04060103 0109 Big Devil Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0201 Little Cannon Creek
04060103 0202 Maple Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0203 Ham Creek
04060103 0204 Hopkins Creek
04060103 0205 Hopkins Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0206 Fife Lake Outlet
04060103 0207 Chase Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0208 Manton Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0209 Silver Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0301 Anderson Creek
04060103 0302 Soper Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0303 Cole Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0304 Fletcher Creek
04060103 0305 Burkett Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0306 Hodenpyl Dam Pond-Manistee River
04060103 0307 Slagle Creek
04060103 0308 Eddington Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0309 Peterson Creek
04060103 0310 Hinton Creek-Manistee Creek
04060103 0401 North Branch Pine River
04060103 0402 East Branch Pine River
04060103 0403 Coe Creek
04060103 0404 Beaver Creek-Pine River
04060103 0405 Poplar Creek-Pine River
04060103 0406 Pine River
04060103 0501 Dutchman Creek-Bear Creek
04060103 0502 Little Bear Creek
04060103 0503 Lemon Creek-Bear Creek
04060103 0504 Little Beaver Creek-Bear Creek
04060103 0505 Bear Creek
04060103 0601 Twin Creek
04060103 0602 Lincoln Creek-Little Manistee River
04060103 0603 Stronach Creek
04060103 0604 Elbow Lake-Little Manistee River
04060103 0605 Tank Creek-Little Manistee River
04060103 0606 Little Manistee River
04060103 0701 Tippy Dam Pond-Manistee River
04060103 0702 Pine Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0703 Larson Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0704 Claybank Creek-Manistee River
04060103 0705 Manistee River