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The Upper Black River Watershed

The Black River Watershed drains 547 sq miles of northern Lower Michigan and is located in Cheboygan, Montmorency, Otsego and Presque Isle counties. It is part of the larger Cheboygan River Watershed, of which the Black River Watershed accounts for 38%. Before flowing into Black Lake, the Upper Black River joins up with many coldwater tributaries and supports a healthy coldwater fishery. It also runs through Pigeon River Country State Forest (PRC), a premier destination for hiking, hunting and fishing. Because of the special features of the PRC, more protective land and water management policies are in place there than on most state forest lands. Black Lake, the 9th largest inland lake in Michigan, is heavily utilized for recreation and is famous for its self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon, a threatened species. Anglers also spend time at Black Lake fishing for muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch, walleye and bass. Besides the Black River, Black Lake also receives the flow of the Rainy River and Stewart, Mud and Stony Creeks. When the Lower Black River flows out of Black Lake toward Lake Huron, the character of the river is noticeably different than the Upper Black’s because of its close proximity to Black Lake and the of the local karst topography (which keeps groundwater inflows low).

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