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THE CLINTON RIVER WATERSHED

Home to heron, trout, mink and other wildlife, the Clinton River Watershed is comprised of thousands of lakes, ponds and wetlands and hundreds of miles of clear, cold streams.

Our very own playground for fishing, paddling, swimming and hiking, the Clinton River Watershed is also a gateway to Lake St. Clair's boating paradise.

what is the clinton river watershed?

A watershed is another word for a river basin, an area of land where water naturally collects and drains to one point. The Clinton River Watershed is a 760 square mile area that is comprised of thousands of lakes, ponds, wetlands, marshes and bogs – as well as coldwater tributaries, brooks and streams. These streams and rivers all drain into one common body of water, Lake St. Clair.

The most populated watershed in the state of Michigan, the Clinton River Watershed is a large area that stretches through four counties including Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer and St. Clair.

What Encompasses The Clinton River Watershed?

760

Square Miles

4

Counties

71

Communities

1.5 MM

People

 

where does the clinton river watershed begin and end?

Aside from being the special place where we live, the Clinton River Watershed is part of the Great Lakes Basin, one of the largest freshwater ecosystems in the world. 

The Clinton River begins with small, fast-flowing tributaries. Tributaries are freshwater streams that feed into a larger stream or river, and these tributaries form the headwaters (the source) of a river.

The headwaters for the Main Branch of the Clinton River are found in the rural areas of northern Oakland County, northwest of Pontiac. Waters rise from the wetlands and coldwater tributaries from within Independence, Brandon and Springfield Townships and flow in an easterly direction through many villages and townships including Clarkston, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Sylvan Lake, Lake Angelus, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Shelby Township, Utica, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township and Mount Clemens, to name a few.

Two important tributaries that feed into the Main Branch of the Clinton River are Paint Creek and Stony Creek. A favorite for trout anglers, Paint Creek is the only designated coldwater trout stream in Southeast Michigan. Paint Creek begins in the Oxford Township and Lake Orion area and stretches through Orion Township, Oakland Township and Rochester Hills before merging into the Main Branch of the Clinton River in Rochester.

Stony Creek begins in Addison Township from Lakeville Lake and continues through Bruce Township, Washington Township and Stony Creek Lake before merging into the Clinton River in Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills.

The Middle and North Branch of the Clinton River begin in the rural areas of Lapeer and Macomb County and flow south before both rivers merge into the Main Branch of the Clinton River in Clinton Township, for which the township was named.

The Middle Branch of the Clinton River is wedged between the North Branch and Stony Creek and begins in Washington Township, flowing easterly through Shelby, Macomb and Clinton Township.

The North Branch of the Clinton River begins in Almont and flows south through Bruce, Armada, Ray and Macomb Township before merging into the Clinton River near Mt. Clemens.

The Clinton River travels for 81.5 miles through marshes, forests, farmland, cities and parks. As the river makes its journey, the Clinton River flows through more suburban and urbanized areas before reaching Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township.

Lake St. Clair is the 15th largest lake in the United States with over 430 square miles of freshwater and is sometimes affectionately referred to as the 6th Great Lake. Downstream from the largest freshwater delta in the Great Lakes Basin, Lake St. Clair's location has a major impact on its clarity and water quality. Essential to the Saint Lawrence Seaway shipping route, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie and to oceangoing vessels traveling to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Clinton River, its watershed and Lake St. Clair are a valuable freshwater resource that not only provides important ecological functions, but provide the region with many important uses including water for consumption, water-oriented towns, tourism, diverse wildlife habitat, boating, fishing and many other recreational activities

               

 

subwatershed management plans

 

what are subwatershed plans?


Subwatershed management plans provide a framework for communities to collaboratively address various issues related to water quality. For example, subwatershed management plans include language about building practices, land use planning, public education, and other relevant topics. Each community and organization represents one entity essential to the success of watershed management. Strategic planning done at a local level will have great influence on the future of the Clinton River watershed and beyond. These plans serve as a map to that future.

ENJOYING
NATIVE PLANTS


 

clinton main


The Clinton Main subwatershed management plan was put in place August 2006. Since that time (and before the plan’s approval), local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement their plan.

Municipalities
  • Auburn Hills
  • Bloomfield Township
  • Keego Harbor
  • Lake Angelus
  • Oakland Township
  • Oakland University
  • Orchard Lake Village
  • Orion Township
  • Pontiac
  • Rochester
  • Rochester Hills
  • Sylvan Lake Village
  • Waterford Township
  • West Bloomfield Township

at a glance:


Area: Approx. 70 square miles

Counties: Oakland

Population: Approx. 243,000

Primary Land Uses: 27% residential, 15% commercial

Open Water: 10% of land area including Pontiac Creek, Galloway Creek and the Clinton River. 

Click here to download the Clinton Main Subwatershed Plan

 

clinton river east


The Clinton River East Watershed (CREW) subwatershed management plan was put in place November 2006. Since that time (and before the plan’s approval), local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement their plan.

Municipalities
  • Bruce Township
  • Clinton Township
  • Fraser
  • Harrison Township
  • Macomb Township
  • Mt. Clemens
  • Ray Township
  • Village of Romeo
  • Shelby Township
  • Sterling Heights
  • Utica
  • Washington Township

at a glance:


Area: Approx. 130 square miles

Counties: Oakland, Macomb

Primary Land Uses:
Northern: natural areas, residential.
Central/Southern: residential, industrial/commercial

Open Water: 128 linear miles of open channel drains, Middle Branch and Main Branch of the Clinton River, and 7 miles along the Lake St. Clair shore

Click here to download the Clinton River East Subwatershed Plan

 

lake st. clair direct drainage


The Lake St. Clair subwatershed management plan was put in place November 2006. Since that time (and before the plan’s approval), local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement their plan.

Municipalities
  • Bruce Township
  • Clinton Township
  • Fraser
  • Harrison Township
  • Clinton Township
  • Eastpointe
  • Fraser
  • Grosse Pointe
  • Grosse Pointe Farms
  • Grosse Pointe Park
  • Grosse Pointe Shores
  • Grosse Pointe Woods
  • Harper Woods
  • Harrison Township
  • Lake Township
  • Roseville
  • St. Clair Shores
  • Macomb Township
  • Mt. Clemens
  • Ray Township
  • Village of Romeo
  • Shelby Township
  • Sterling Heights
  • Utica
  • Washington Township

at a glance:                                              


Area: Approx. 40 square miles

Counties: Macomb, Wayne

Primary Land Uses:
Residentil with some industrial/commercial

Open Water: 25 linear miles of open channel drains and 19 miles along the Lake St. Clair shore

Click here to download the Lake St. Clair Direct Drainage Subwatershed Plan

 

north branch


Communities, agencies and organizations in the North Branch Subwatershed are voluntarily working together to increase public awareness of the impacts and causes of stormwater and non-point source pollution. They are also voluntarily developing plans to address the causes of these problems within the watershed. The North Branch Subwatershed Advisory Group does not have any public input meetings scheduled at this time.

Municipalities
  • Addison Township
  • Almont Township
  • Almont Village
  • Armada Township
  • Armada Village
  • Berlin Township
  • Bruce Township
  • Chesterfield Township
  • Clinton Township
  • Dryden Township
  • Macomb Township
  • Leonard
  • Lenox Township
  • Mt. Clemens
  • Ray Township
  • City of Richmond
  • Richmond Township
  • Village of Romeo
  • Washington Township

at a glance:                        


Area: Approx. 200 square miles

Counties: Lapeer, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair

Primary Land Uses:
60% active agriculture
17% woodland/wetland
15%  residential

Open Water: Coon Creek, Deer Creek, East Branch Coon Creek, East Pond Creek, Highbank Creek, North Branch Clinton, Tupper Brook

Click here to download the North Branch Subwatershed Plan

 

red run


The Red Run subwatershed management plan was put in place November 2006. Since that time (and before the plan’s approval), local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement their plan.

Municipalities
  • Berkley
  • Beverly Hills
  • Birmingham
  • Center Line
  • Clawson
  • Clinton Township
  • Ferndale
  • Hazel Park
  • Huntington Woods
  • Madison Heights
  • Oak Park
  • Pleasant Ridge
  • Rochester Hills
  • Royal Oak
  • Royal Oak Township
  • Shelby Township
  • Southfield
  • Sterling Heights
  • Troy
  • Utica
  • Warren

at a glance:                        


Area: Approx. 130 square miles

Counties: Oakland, Macomb

Population: 259,000

Primary Land Uses: residential, industrial/commercial

Open Water: 54 miles of open channel including Big Beaver Creek, Plum Brook, Bear Creek and Red Run.

Click here to download the Red Run
Subwatershed Plan

stony paint creek


A variety of public participation meetings and workshops were held in the Stony Creek subwatershed between 2000 and 2003 as part of the development of the Stony Creek Subwatershed 2003 Management Plan. In 2006, the updated watershed plan, which included a plan for Paint Creek, was approved by MDEQ. Since that time (and before the plan’s approval), local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement their plan.

Municipalities
  • Addison Township
  • Auburn Hills
  • Brandon Township
  • Bruce Township
  • Independence Township
  • Lake Orion
  • Oakland Township
  • Orion Township Oxford Township
  • Oxford Village
  • Shelby Township
  • Rochester
  • Rochester Hills
  • Washington Township

at a glance:                        


STONY CREEK

Area: Approx. 72 square miles

Counties: Oakland

Population: 18,000

Primary Land Uses:
32% Residential
25% Vacant land
13% Recreation/conservation lands

Open Water: Main Branch Stony Creek, West Branch Stony Creek

PAINT CREEK

Area: Approx. 70 square miles

Counties: Oakland

Population: 68,000

Primary Land Uses: residential, vacant land, recreation/conservation land

Open Water: Gallagher Creek, Sargent Creek, Paint Creek

Click here to download the Stony/Paint  Creek Subwatershed Plan

upper clinton


Work on the Upper Clinton subwatershed management plan began in 2003. For the next two years, communities and stakeholders continued collaboration by completing individual components of the subwatershed management plan. This hard work culminated in the finalizing of the subwatershed management plan in November 2005. Since that time, local governments, community leaders, citizens’ groups, businesses, and environmental organizations have worked together to implement the Upper Clinton subwatershed management plan.

Municipalities
  • Auburn Hills
  • Brandon Township
  • Clarkston
  • Groveland Township
  • Independence Township
  • Lake Angelus
  • Orion Township
  • Pontiac*
  • Springfield Township
  • Waterford Township
  • White Lake Township

at a glance:                        


Area: Approx. 86 square miles

Counties: Oakland

Population: 279,000

Primary Land Uses:
43% Residential
30% Vacant land
13% Recreation/conservation lands

Open Water: Sashabaw Creek, Clinton River headwaters and numerous lakes and wetlands

Click here to download the Upper Clinton Subwatershed Plan

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KEEPING WATERS HEALTHY IN THE CLINTON RIVER WATERSHED

 

 

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