Shiawassee River

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Shiawassee River
Saginaw River watershed

Springfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan

42°43′51″N 83°30′39″W / 42.73086°N 83.51077°W / 42.73086; -83.51077[1]

Saginaw River, Michigan

43°23′13″N 83°57′58″W / 43.38697°N 83.96608°W / 43.38697; -83.96608Coordinates: 43°23′13″N 83°57′58″W / 43.38697°N 83.96608°W / 43.38697; -83.96608
Length 120 mi (190 km)
Basin area 1,160 sq mi (3,000 km2)

The Shiawassee River in the U.S. state of Michigan is 120 miles (190 km) long[2] and generally flows in a northerly direction. It merges with the Flint River, the Cass River and the Tittabawassee River to form the Saginaw River, which drains into the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron.

Shiawassee River in winter


Supporting approximately 1,160 square miles (3,000 km2) of watershed environment, there are over 61 species of fish, including darters, minnows, channel catfish, pugnose shiner, greater redhorse, stonecat, river chub and striped shiner. There are also 14 species of freshwater mussel found in the watershed. The swamps and fens adjacent to the river's headwaters support several globally rare species of animals and play a major role in the travels of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.


HeadWaters Trails Inc. in Holly (Oakland County) promotes the navigability of the river through Fenton towards Lake Ponemah. Volunteer crews remove deadfalls, woody debris and garbage to allow canoe/kayak paddling while preserving the banks and fish habitat. This will allow paddlers to start in Holly, do a small portage at Fenton dam, and continue on to Lake Ponemah. Every year HeadWaters Trails hosts an annual Shiawassee River Paddle along the river between Holly and Fenton.

Other groups that help maintain and conserve the Shiawassee River include local advocates, the Friends of the Shiawassee River, and many others. The Friends of the Shiawassee River is a special interest group and non-profit organization founded in 1996. Their mission is to Care, to maintain and improve the water quality and habitats of the Shiawassee River watershed; Share, to enhance the community’s appreciation and knowledge of the river, especially among youth; and Enjoy, to increase recreational access and responsible use of the Shiawassee River. The Friends also hold an annual river clean-up and conduct invasive species removal workdays.

The Keepers of the Shiawassee are a new group that has grown out of the efforts started by Headwaters Trails, Inc. in Holly that created a paddling trail along the river from Holly to Fenton. The Keepers organize and link volunteers in Genesee County to continue the creation and evolution of a navigable river throughout Michigan.

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail[edit]

The Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail complete with mileage markers and kiosks is open for kayakers and canoeists.[3][4][5][6]

Water Works Park at 690 Broad Street in Holly, Michigan (42°47.172′N 83°37.565′W / 42.786200°N 83.626083°W / 42.786200; -83.626083, GPS data: 17T E 285205 N 4740417) is the launch site for the beginning of the trail. Strom Park in (42°47.172′N 83°37.565′W) in Fenton is the take-out point after 7 miles (11 km) of paddling.


  1. ^ "Shiawassee River". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed November 7, 2011
  3. ^ "Fenton, Linden officials hope grant money boosts recreation, economy along Shiawassee River". Fenton Press ( 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  4. ^ "Fall kayaking opportunities abundant in and around Genesee County". Flint News ( 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Shiawassee River - State Heritage Water Trail - Michigan - Canoe/Kayak Trips on". Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Headwaters Trails Inc.". Holly, Michigan. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 

External links[edit]