About Greater Bear

This is another story of the three bears. But this story is real. It is about a large community that has pledged to work together to protect and enhance a watershed. A watershed is the area of the land's surface that drains to a particular water body. The Bear Lake Watershed and the Bear Creek Watershed are the two components that comprise the Greater Bear Watershed. Each of these watersheds has a volunteer organization in place to do its part to protect and enhance the Greater Bear Watershed.

1. The Bear Lake Watershed Aiance (BLWA) that works to implement the action items in the management plan that are specific to Bear Lake.

2. The Bear Creek Watershed Council (BCWC) that works to implement the action items in the management plan that are specific to Bear Creek.

We think of ourselves as synergistic. That is, we try to operate together in a way that produces results that are better than the results which would be produced if each organization acted alone.

The basic goal of these two groups is to protect and enhance the health of the watershed. So, we worked together to secure a grant to develop action plans to meet our goal. In December 2010, we were awarded a federally funded watershed planning grant administered through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) for $132,380 to develop the Greater Bear Watershed Management Plan. Hundreds of people from many organizations worked for 32 months to develop the plan. On July 25, 2013, the MDNRE formally approved the plan as meeting criteria for the State Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) Nonpoint Source Pollution Control program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 319 Program of the federal Clean Water Act. The approved Greater Bear Watershed Management Plan is in the Plan section of this website.

The Greater Bear Watershed is located in the northwestern area of the lower peninsula of Michigan. It encompasses about 130,800 acres of land and water, mostly in Manistee County with small portions of the watershed extending into Benzie and Wexford counties. Map exhibits in the Greater Bear Management Plan are listed below that illustrate the Greater Bear Watershed area:

Exhibit 2 Greater Bear Area Of Michigan

Exhibit 3 Greater Bear Detailed Location

Exhibit 5 Subwatersheds of Greater Bear

The Greater Bear Watershed is a sub-watershed of the Lake Michigan Watershed. Headwaters of Little Bear Creek form as the water exits Bear Lake through an outlet on the east side of the lake. From there the water flows into Bear Creek continuing into the Big Manistee River. The water then follows course from the river into Manistee Lake which then flows into Lake Michigan.

As you browse through the websites for more detail of the organizations, activities and the implementation progress of the management plan, it will become apparent that the focus throughout remains on action items that will help protect and enhance our watershed for future generations. Please visit our “Contact Us” page for suggestions about how you can help.