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Lake Michigan Tributaries


We are delighted to announce that the website for Lake Michigan Tributaries Initiative is live – www.betterbeachesswmi.org.!  It is loaded with information on the efforts to detect and provide solutions to prevent E. coli from entering Lake Michigan and closing the beaches. It is a very visual site that we hope you find inspiring!


Lake Michigan Tributaries NPS Watershed Management Plan, Berrien County, MI


With a SAW grant from the Michigan Department Environment and local match funding from The Pokagon Fund, the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission developed a watershed management plan for the Lake Michigan Tributaries

The land use in these watersheds is 26% developed, 12% agriculture, 47% natural (forested/grasslands), 10% wetlands, 1% water and 4% other.  The NPS Watershed Management Plan targets E.coli as a priority source pollutant causing impairments in these watersheds. 


This project addressed the last twelve streams in Berrien County that do not have watershed management plans completed. Southwest Berrien County is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and is a popular recreation and vacation destination and home to one of Michigan’s most visited state parks.  Tourism is critical to our economy and tourists have been turned away from our beaches due to high levels of E. coli.  In order to stop these beach closings and improve water quality, this project will identified E. coli sources through water testing, environmental canine scent tracking and development of a comprehensive NPS watershed management plan that will be used to guide implementation efforts.  This project analyzed the water quality of twelve streams which empty directly into Lake Michigan, resulting in a Watershed Management Plan that meets MDEQ's CMI plan requirements and also standards established by the US EPA for a Nine Minimum Elements Watershed Management Plan.



 Past Event: Wetlands Do the Dirty Work

 Incentives for Landowners to be Wetland Stewards

 This event took place on Monday, September 25, 2017 


To view the presentations from the Wetland Workshop please click here: 



Lake Michigan Tributaries North Section in Berrien County



Lake Michigan Tributaries South Section in Berrien County


Maps for the Lake Michigan Tributaries

  1. Lake Michigan Tributaries North Section Map
  2. Lake Michigan Tributaries South Section Map
  3. Population Density for the North Lake Michigan Tributaries
  4. Population Density for the South Lake Michigan Tributaries
  5. Parks, Recreational Areas and Conservation Lands North Section
  6. Parks, Recreational Areas and Conservation Lands South Section
  7. Water and Sewer Service North Section
  8. Water and Sewer Service South Section
  9. Road/Stream Crossings North Section
  10. Road/Stream Crossings South Section
  11. Sub-watersheds North Section
  12. Sub-watersheds South Section
  13. Designated and Critical Sand Dune Areas North Section
  14. Designated and Critical Sand Dune Areas South Section
  15. Land Use and Land Cover North Section
  16. Land Use and Land Cover South Section
  17. Sediment Loading North Section
  18. Sediment Loading South Section
  19. Wetlands North Section
  20. Wetlands South Section
  21. Wetlands Function Flood Water Retention North Section
  22. Wetlands Function Flood Water Retention South Section
  23. Wetlands Function Sediment Retention & Nutrient Transformation North Section
  24. Wetlands Function Sediment Retention & Nutrient Transformation South Section
  25. Municipal Boundaries North Section
  26. Municipal Boundaries South Section  
  27. Potential Conservation Areas North Section
  28. Potential Conservation Areas South Section
In the News:

Project Partners:

Chikaming Open Lands, The Conservation Fund, Great Lakes Scientific Berrien County Health Department and Southwest Michigan Planning Commission.


Project Funders:  
EGLE, The Pokagon Fund, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

This page last updated on 10/4/2019.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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lake Michigan tributaries

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