News & Happenings

Follow us on our mission to safeguard the beautiful waters of Grand Traverse Bay and our inland lakes and streams for all to enjoy.


July 20, 2023

Invasive New Zealand Mudsnail Found in Four Mile Creek in Grand Traverse County

Invasive New Zealand mudsnails have been detected in the main branch of Four Mile Creek, a tributary to Mitchell Creek in Grand Traverse County. The invasive snails were discovered during The Watershed Center’s spring Adopt-A-Stream monitoring and were confirmed by Oakland University and Trout Unlimited in June.

The New Zealand mudsnail is considered invasive due to the environmental harm it can cause to river, stream, and lake ecosystems. The mudsnail competes with native macroinvertebrate populations for resources, potentially altering the composition and abundance of native macroinvertebrate communities and food sources. Additionally, because the shell of the mudsnail cannot be digested, they provide no nutrition for fishes that ingest them, which can lead to smaller fish sizes and poor fish health. New Zealand mudsnails can also alter nutrient cycling within aquatic systems.

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June 13, 2023

Grand Traverse Region Beach testing Begins June 14, 2023

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will begin its annual beach testing on June 14, 2023. Nineteen area beaches in Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties will be tested for harmful E.coli bacteria every Wednesday through September 6.

Bacteria test results will be available by noon on Thursdays and posted shortly thereafter on the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) BeachGuard website, The Watershed Center Facebook page, the Grand Traverse County Health Department website, and the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department website and Facebook page. If results show high bacteria levels, local health departments will post advisories at impacted beaches and the water at those beaches will immediately be re-tested until results return to acceptable levels.

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June 8, 2023

The Watershed Center Files Clean Water Act Citizen Suit

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, Grand Traverse Bay WATERKEEPER®, Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association, and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians filed suit against Burnette Foods, Inc., to enforce the Clean Water Act and Michigan Environmental Protection Act. The suit is the result of over a decade of Burnette Foods routinely land-applying wastewater that exceeds their permit requirements and is potentially adversely impacting water quality in the groundwater, wetlands, Spencer Creek, and Elk Lake.

Burnette Foods discharges fruit processing wastewater to the ground through spray irrigation fields under a groundwater permit administered by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Site conditions and Burnette’s overapplication of wastewater routinely lead to this discharge reaching a wetland network that flows into Spencer Creek and empties into Elk Lake, likely impairing the water quality of the wetlands, creek, and lake.

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April 11, 2023

The Watershed Center Announces Earth Day Beach Cleanup April 22, 2023

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and Boyne Country Sports are cohosting a volunteer beach cleanup on Earth Day, April 22, 2023, at 1pm at the Volleyball/West End Beach in Traverse City. Through a partnership with the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup and generous funding and support provided by Midwest retailer Meijer, The Watershed Center also plans to deploy a robotic litter prevention device called a BeBot to compliment volunteer beach cleanup efforts. This event is free and open to the public with no registration necessary. All cleanup supplies will be provided, though attendees are encouraged to bring their own buckets.

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April 4, 2023

The Watershed Center Announces Fly Rod Raffle to Benefit Mission

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay is pleased to announce that tickets for their 2023 Fly Rod Raffle are on sale now until Wednesday, August 9th. Tickets can be purchased for $50 each in-person at The Watershed Center office or online at and picked up at their office.

The Watershed Center works alongside community stakeholders within the Grand Traverse Bay watershed to monitor for emerging threats to our aquatic systems and advocate for policies that protect the health of Grand Traverse Bay and its surrounding waterways. One hundred percent of proceeds from the 2023 Fly Rod Raffle will benefit this critical work.

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September 29, 2022

15th Annual Freshwater Summit October 28, 2022

The Freshwater Roundtable is proud to announce the 15th Annual Freshwater Summit. The Summit will be held on Friday, October 28th from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College.

Presentations include salinity in the Great Lakes, management efforts for the New Zealand Mud Snail, food web impacts of microplastics, arctic grayling reintroduction, spread and impact of invasive Didymo in local rivers, monitoring water quality in Torch Lake, and lightning talks about local initiatives.

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June 14, 2022

Grand Traverse Region Beach Testing Begins June 15

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will begin its annual beach testing on June 15, 2022. Nineteen area beaches in Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties will be tested for harmful E. coli bacteria every Wednesday through September 7.

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June 13, 2022

The Watershed Center Receives Three Grants Totaling Nearly $1.3 Million for Restoration Work in the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay received two substantial grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and one from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (MDNR) Fisheries Habitat Grant Program totaling nearly $1.3 million. These state and federal grant funds will be used to reduce stormwater inputs into Grand Traverse Bay from the Village of Northport and re-establish a woody riparian buffer and provide floodplain connection along a section of Kids Creek near Silver Lake Road in Traverse City.

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