About the watershed
The Platte River watershed is comprised of several connected river and lake segments surrounded large areas of contiguous forestland with isolated kettle lakes. The hydrology of the Platte River is relatively stable due to the deep glacial outwash deposits of permeable soils that promote infiltration and movement of the groundwater to create consistent and stable base flow throughout the year.
The Platte River is recognized as one of Michigan’s Blue Ribbon Trout Streams. The Platte is a hydraulically stable river system and its gradient is approximately 5 feet per mile, thus hinting at the root of its name, “plat” being the French word for “level or flat.” The Platte River Watershed covers 193 square miles and the river valley is 14 miles long, with a total of 90.5 miles of river and connecting streams.
Much of the Platte River watershed drains areas located in the northern half of Benzie County, MI. Although it is the smallest county in the state, it is currently ranked as the third fastest in growth (Benzie County Open Space and Natural Resource Protection Plan‐ BCOSNRPP). Population growth in upper watershed areas of Grand Traverse County is projected to increase significantly by 2020. The growing population is predicted to convert 36% of the current forested areas into residential, commercial and industrial land use (Long Lake Watershed Management Plan, 2009). Thus, although significant measures to control point sources from the Platte River State Fish Hatchery have been attained, the Platte River and Big Platte Lake are under pressure projected increases in from nonpoint nutrient and sediment loads throughout the watershed.
A variety of partners work on conservation-based projects in the watershed, including Conservation Resource Alliance, Benzie Conservation District, Platte Lake Improvement Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and other state, federal and private entities.