Pere-Marquette-White Watershed

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Hydrologic Unit Code: 04060101

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Watershed Overview

The Pere Marquette watershed is primarily forested and it covers over 2,100 square miles, with over 90 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Excessive sedimentation and erosion are the two major problems throughout the watershed.

Recreational uses include fishing, wildlife viewing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and hiking. The Big Sable River’s headwaters are recognized for both brook and brown trout, while the downstream the downstream area near Hamlin Lake is noted for brown trout. Hamlin Lake is widely recognized as one of west Michigan’s best fishing spots. Additionally, the White River has been designated a State natural river and the Pere Marquette River is designated a Natural Scenic River.

The Nature Conservancy has designated the following critical ecological resources in the watershed:

  • Big Sable Point and Hamlin Lake include Great Lakes Dune Pine Forest, Great Lakes Beachgrass Dune, and Interdunal Wetlands
  • The Pentwater Marsh includes Great Lakes Shoreline Cattail – Bulrush Marsh
  • The Pere Marquette Watershed includes Central Cordgrass Wet Prairie, Central Cordgrass Wet Sand Prairie and drowned river mouth lakes
  • Flower Creek and Dunes include Great Lake Shoreline Cattail – Bulrush Marsh
  • Newaygo Prairies include Inland Coastal Plain Marsh, Midwest Dry Sand Prairie, and White Pine – White Oak Forest
  • Hoffmaster-Kitchel Dunes contains Great Lakes Beachgrass Dune
  • Stony Creek-Camp Miniwanca contains Great Lake Shoreline Cattail – Bulrush Marsh

In addition to the critical ecosystem types, the Nature Conservancy has identified the following species:

  • Pitcher’s Thistle at Big Sable Point-Hamlin Lake, Flower Creek, Hoffmaster-Kitchel Dunes, Stony Creek-Camp Miniwanca and Newaygo Prairies
  • Hill-prairie spittlebug, Karner Blue Butterfly at Newaygo Prairies
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Watershed Activities

Several organizations have made efforts to preserve, protect and restore the Pere Marquette River Watershed. The White River Watershed partnership, formed in 2003, has a mission to protect the unique characteristics and the natural resources of the White River watershed by promoting education, conservation, restoration, and preservation activities.

The primary goals of the Pentwater River Watershed Program are to protect and enhance the high quality waters of the South Branch of the Pentwater River by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) within the watershed. BMPs are defined as structural, vegetative, or managerial practices to treat, prevent, or reduce water pollution.

The Pere Marquette River Restoration Committee is working to repair road/stream crossings, stabilize streambanks, and develop livestock and agricultural projects.

The Conservation Resource Alliance works with Kanouse Outdoor Restoration to repair erosion at steep, sandy eroding streambanks along the Baldwin River. In addition, a combination of woody debris and fish habitat platform structures area placed at all of the sites to provide hiding and resting cover for fish, aquatic insects and a variety of wildlife.

In 2003, the Lake Michigan Forum conducted an assessment of environmental stewardship in Michigan’s Mona Lake watershed. The assessment process was aimed at identifying opportunities for creating a permanent ethic of environmental stewardship among leaders and the general public in the local watershed.

The Mona Lake Watershed Council is working on projects to support the health of the watershed.

Watershed Groups

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

  • 02/050 A Biological Survey of the Big Sable River, Mason and Lake Counties, June 5-6 and Sept. 14, 2000
  • Pere Marquette (2000): MI/DEQ/SWQ-02/055 and MI/DEQ/SWQ-02/056
  • Pentwater (2005): MI/DEQ/WB-06/097
  • White Lake Tributaries: MI/DEQ/WD-03/063

Additional information is available at Michigan State University's Institute for Water Research's Digital Watershed Tool for the Pere-Marquette-White 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 Management Plans

  • Pere Marquette — Conservation Resource Alliance
  • South Branch, Pentwater River — Oceana Conservation District
  • Hamlin Lake/Big Sable — Conservation Resource Alliance

White Lake Area of Concern

White Lake is a 2,570 acre coastal, drowned river mouth lake located in Muskegon County along the east shore of Lake Michigan, in the vicinity of the communities of Montague and Whitehall. The White Lake Area of Concern (AOC) includes White Lake and White River Watershed. Most of the land around the lake is wooded or grassy, with sand dunes located along Lake Michigan. The White Lake AOC is located in the west central portion of Muskegon County in Michigan, and is connected to Lake Michigan by a federally-maintained navigation channel. The White Lake AOC includes White Lake proper and a one-quarter mile wide zone around the lake.

Land use in the White River Watershed is primarily recreational and agricultural, with the uses around White Lake being residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural.

White Lake was originally listed as an AOC primarily due to contaminated groundwater migrating to the lake from the Occidental Chemical Site (formerly Hooker Chemical Company). There are eight other sites of contamination with the potential to affect the lake, some of them in varying states of remediation.

Watershed Data and Information

USGS Water Resources Links for: 04060101 - Pere Marquette-White

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EPA Links for the Pere Marquette-White - HUC 04060101:

Impaired (303d) Waters

A listing of impaired waters can be found on the U.S. EPA's website for the Pere-Marquette-White Watershed


Subwatersheds for Lower Grand River Watershed

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Information on other Lake Michigan subwatersheds can be found at Lake Michigan Subwatershed Information
HUC Watershed Name
04060101 0101 Muckwa Creek-Big Sable River
04060101 0102 Ritters Creek-Big Sable River
04060101 0103 Freeman Creek-Big Sable River
04060101 0104 Big Sable River
04060101 0201 North Branch Lincoln River
04060101 0202 South Branch Lincoln River
04060101 0203 Lincoln River
04060101 0301 McDuffee Creek
04060101 0302 Headwaters Little South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0303 Middle Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0304 Little South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0401 Beaver Creek
04060101 0402 Winnepesaug Creek-Big South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0403 Cedar Creek
04060101 0404 Freeman Creek-Big South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0405 Ruby Creek-Big South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0406 Big South Branch Pere Marquette River
04060101 0501 Cole Creek-Baldwin River
04060101 0502 Sanborn Creek
04060101 0503 Baldwin River
04060101 0504 Danaher Creek-Pere Marquette River
04060101 0505 Tank Creek-Pere Marquette River
04060101 0506 Weldon Creek-Pere Marquette River
04060101 0507 Black Creek-Pere Marquette River
04060101 0508 Swan Creek-Pere Marquette River
04060101 0509 Pere Marquette River
04060101 0601 Allen Drain-North Branch Pentwater River
04060101 0602 Huftile Creek
04060101 0603 South Branch Pentwater River
04060101 0604 North Branch Pentwater River
04060101 0605 Pentwater River
04060101 0701 Mullen Creek-South Branch White River
04060101 0702 Fivemile Creek
04060101 0703 Flinton Creek-South Branch White River
04060101 0704 Black Creek-South Branch White River
04060101 0705 Martin Creek-South Branch White River
04060101 0706 Brayton Drain-South Branch White River
04060101 0707 South Branch White River
04060101 0801 McLaren Lake-North Branch White River
04060101 0802 Robinson Creek
04060101 0803 Osborn Creek-North Branch White River
04060101 0804 North Branch White River
04060101 0901 Sand Creek-White River
04060101 0902 Carlton Creek
04060101 0903 Pierson Drain
04060101 0904 White River
04060101 1001 Gurney Creek
04060101 1002 Cooper Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
04060101 1003 Bass Lake
04060101 1004 Bigsbie Lake-Frontal Lake Michigan
04060101 1005 Silver Creek
04060101 1006 Stony Creek
04060101 1007 Flower Creek
04060101 1008 Duck Creek
04060101 1009 Little Black Creek-Frontal Lake Michigan
04060101 1010 Muskegon Newago Drain-Black Creek
04060101 1011 Mona Lake-Black Creek