The Watershed

What Is a Watershed?

A watershed – also called a drainage basin – is the area of surrounding land that drains into a body of water such as a stream, river, or lake. A watershed can be as small as a few acres draining into a farm pond, or as large as several thousand square miles for a major river system, such as the Mississippi, or a large inland lake, like Lake Michigan. 

Mona Lake Watershed

The Mona Lake Watershed spans over 45,500 acres and covers 2,400 acres of lake and pond area. The majority of the Watershed lies within Muskegon County, with the exception of a small section of the northeast corner located in Newaygo County. It contains almost 23 miles of natural streams and creeks, with almost 40 miles of maintained drains. In the watershed, 23,600 acres is undeveloped consisting of forest, open fields, wetland, water, or dunes (roughly 52% of the watershed), 7,500 acres are used for agricultural development, and 14,500 acres are used for residential, commercial, and industrial use.

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Threats to the Watershed

The Mona Lake Watershed faces many threats to its health and beauty. Among those hazards are contaminated sediments, stormwater runoff, excessive nutrients, sedimentation, pathogens, and invasive plants.

Known Sites of Contamination

Two of the Superfund sites reside along the watershed’s headwaters and have had an impact on sediment and water quality. Those sites include the former locations of Peerless Plating and Marathon Oil Company, to name a few.