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The Largest Watershed in Michigan

Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed
Why it Matters

The Saginaw Bay watershed is the largest in the state of Michigan, spanning 5.5 million acres and 22 counties. The ecological health of Saginaw Bay and its tributaries is critically important to not only Lake Huron, but the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, as this watershed provides vital ecosystem services for both nature and people, including fish spawning habitat and abundant farmland.
Yet, two centuries of human activity have highly impacted Saginaw Bay and its watershed. Intense demands on the shoreline and poor agricultural land practices have altered land and water habitats, key ecological processes and hydrology, and degraded water quality. Most of the Bay’s coastal wetlands have been lost; those that remain no longer connect to the lake and are no longer accessible to spawning fish. In conjunction with the Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project, the Michigan Chapter is working to ensure that the Saginaw Bay and other focal watersheds throughout the state and region continue to provide vital ecosystem services for both nature and people over the long term.
  • Partnering to protect and restore key floodplain habitats in the Saginaw Bay watershed. 

  • Using science and data to link conservation practices to ecological indicators.

  • Demonstrating our work in action by implementing projects on the ground.

Contact: Mary Fales | mfales@tnc.org

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