The Greater Bear Watershed Management Plan was approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in July 2013. It meets all state (Clean Michigan Initiative Nonpoint Source Pollution Control program) and federal (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Program of the federal Clean Water Act) requirements for a watershed management plan.
The plan is essential to help us fulfill our mission of protecting and enhancing the health of the Greater Bear Watershed. It began in 2009 with local groups working together to address the needs of the region’s natural resources. The Manistee County Community Foundation responded to this local interest by submitting a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) to update the previously developed Bear Creek Watershed Plan and expand the scope of the previous plan to include Bear Lake.
A federally funded watershed planning grant administered through the MDNRE for $132,380 was subsequently awarded in December of 2010. In cooperation with the Manistee County Alliance for Economic Success, the Community Foundation selected Public Sector Consultants of Lansing, Michigan, to facilitate the development of the watershed plan and prepare the written Greater Bear Watershed Plan.
The plan was developed over a 32 month period and involved hundreds of people including a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from Manistee County, Bear Lake Watershed Alliance, Bear Creek Watershed Council, Alliance For Economic Success, Manistee County Community Foundation, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Bear Lake Property Owners, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, Conservation Resource Alliance, Spirit of the Woods, Michigan DNR and DEQ, and local businesses.