Bear Lake Watershed Alliance

working today to preserve tomorrow!


In 2008 the Bear Lake Watershed Alliance (BLWA) was created with a mission “to preserve, protect and improve the health and natural character of the Bear Lake watershed.

Bear Lake formed naturally between 10,000 and 75,000 years ago. It covers approximately 1,744 surface acres and is about 24 feet deep at its maximum depth. About two-thirds of the lake is less than 20 feet deep. The volume of Bear Lake is estimated to be 26,503 acre-feet. The shoreline is estimated at 7.62 miles and at its widest dimension, it is about 2.38 miles.

Although we are all familiar with the lake, the flow of water from the one outlet of Bear Lake forms the headwaters for Little Bear Creek. The impact of this group focuses on all surrounding areas including rivers, swamps, and all land within the Bear Lake watershed boundary.


Upcoming Events

PotentialProjects 2021 Survey Results

Last year we asked for your feedback on what projects you were intrested in and arounf our community and the results are in! click HERE to see Potential Project 2021 Survey Results

Monthly Meeting

Get involved today by attending this month meeting! Every 4th Wednesday of the month the board members hold a meeting at the Bear Lake Township Hall

Bear Lake Days

Every year the Bear Lake Watershed set’s up a booth at Bear Lake Days! It gives us the opportunity to interact with the community and spread the word about who we are and what we do. This year we are focusing on growing our organization and bringing in the younger generation to help support and maintain the growth required to keep out watershed a key part od the community. When you see us out there make sure to stop by and bring your kids, grandkids or whoever is with you over to say Hi!

If you are interested in volunteering, we are always looking for a smiling face to help out! Head on over to our volunteer page to sign up!

2022 Annual Fundraiser

The most iconic event that the Bear Lake Watershed holds is the yearly fundraiser! Locals get together and come up with items that are handmade, bought local art pieces and much more that are all sold in an action style to help raise money for the organization. A ticket gets you in the door and gives the opportunity to bid on items while you enjoy a local catered meal as you socialize with your family and friends. The action is also a great time to meet many new faces around town and grow your connection!

Check out these images from past years! They give you great idea of just how fun this event is!

You can also visit this form to get your tickets not! Or simply make a donation.

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Watershed Resources

Become a Member!

All residents and property owners within the boundaries of the Bear Lake watershed are key stakeholders in the Bear Lake Watershed Alliance (BLWA). Additionally, local business proprietors, outside government entities, downstream watersheds, and other organizations and citizens have a stake in the success of Bear Lake Watershed Alliance’s mission. Many stakeholders want to actively help us with our efforts. This can be accomplished by becoming a BLWA member.

Greater Bear Watershed Management Plan

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.

Endowment Fund

The Bear Lake Watershed Alliance (BLWA) established an endowment fund in late 2013 to augment fundraisers and dues that support operations necessary to help achieve. Their mission was to protect and enhance the Bear Lake Watershed. Hopefully, the endowment fund will grow significantly over future years assuring that all that needs to be done, can be done. The Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) will be receiving and investing the endowment funds for the BLWA.

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Water Testing

Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program

Water quality sampling has been done on Bear Lake in Manistee County under the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) for many years. Secchi disk readings have been taken for over 25 years under the CLMP on Bear Lake by William Fronk and David Adams and others. Charles Wolverton has conducted the total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a water quality monitoring for about 10 years. The continuity of these water quality parameters is critically important to detecting trends in water quality in Bear Lake.

Learn more about the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring program and find records of our results by visiting our page HERE

ECOLI Testing

The Bear Lake Watershed Alliance (BLWA) established an endowment fund in late 2013 to augment fundraisers and dues that support operations necessary to help achieve. Their mission was to protect and enhance the Bear Lake Watershed. Hopefully, the endowment fund will grow significantly over future years assuring that all that needs to be done, can be done. The Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) will be receiving and investing the endowment funds for the BLWA.

Storm Water Discharge Testing

Ongoing efforts are always in place to improve our lake. One such activity taking place is storm water testing. Check out the video below to learn more about why we perform storm water discharge testing!