Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern

The Saginaw Bay Watershed is one of Michigan’s most diverse areas—its rich resources support agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, outdoor recreation and a vast variety of wildlife. It is also Michigan’s largest watershed and all or part of 22 counties and America’s largest contiguous freshwater coastal wetland system.

Map: Saginaw Bay Watershed

Saginaw Bay Watershed Area














Source: Planning & Zoning Center, Land Policy Institute, Michigan State University, 2013. 

The Saginaw River and Bay were designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) in 1987. It is one of 14 AOCs in Michigan identified as having “toxic hot spots” in need of comprehensive remediation and restoration to improve water quality in the Great Lakes. The rivers and streams within the Saginaw Bay Watershed contribute to the sediment and pollution in the Bay.

Map: Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern

Michigan's Great Lakes Areas of Concern








Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 2006.

The Saginaw River/Bay is listed as an AOC due to the following use impairments:

  1. Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption;
  2. Bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems;
  3. Degradation of benthos;
  4. Restrictions on dredging activities;
  5. Eutrophication or undesirable algae;
  6. Beach closings;
  7. Degradation of aesthetics;
  8. Degradation of phyto- or zooplankton populations;
  9. Degradation of fish and wildlife populations; and
  10. Loss of fish and wildlife habitats.

Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern Documents