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Our Water

Since the turn of the century, water-borne diseases have been drastically reduced almost to the point of nonexistence in this country due to water quality standards and water treatment procedures that make water safe for household and recreational use.

Oakland County is unique in that it is made up of the headwaters of five watersheds: the Clinton, Flint, Huron, Rouge and Shiawassee Rivers.

There are approximately 1,450 inland lakes and countless tributary streams and rivers that flow throughout the 910 square miles of Oakland County. These unique and abundant resources contribute to the quality of life for residents and visitors to the area. Upper Bushman Lake at Independence Oaks-North is the only public access lake in southeast Michigan with a special Catch-and-Release-Only designation.

There are many factors that can influence the health of the abundant natural resources in Oakland County and beyond. Human activities can cause adverse impacts to the natural environment-especially surface water quality. The good news is that most of these potential pollution-causing activities can be mitigated through proactive management strategies, and it starts with awareness of the resource and education on how to protect it through pollution prevention.

The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner's (WRC) Environmental Team is committed to sharing resources and providing education to waterfront property owners on how to protect water quality at their own back door and beyond. The interface between land and water (known as the Riparian Zone) serves a multitude of essential functions such as:

  • Maintaining stream flows
  • Cycling nutrients
  • Filtering chemicals and other pollutants from runoff
  • Trapping and redistributing sediments
  • Absorbing and detaining floodwaters
  • Maintaining fish and wildlife habitats, and
  • Supporting the food chain for a wide range of organisms

Given that the number one source of water pollution today comes from storm water runoff that enters our lakes and streams without prior treatment, waterfront property owners have a special responsibility to protect our water resources. They are at the frontline of preventing pollution from property directly adjacent to our waterways. Although all human activities in a watershed can affect the water quality of our lakes and streams, activities adjacent to riparian zones are most critical.

Beaches in Oakland County from the Michigan BeachGuard System

Oakland County Health Division's Beach Monitoring Program and Reports

Environmental Health Services Water Programs

Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs, Community Planning and Home Assistance

Michigan State University Extension - Oakland County Natural Resources Programs