Our Watershed

The St. Joseph River Watershed is located in the southwest portion of Michigan and the northern portion of Indiana. The river flows near the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area in Michigan and through the Elkhart-Goshen and the South Bend metropolitan areas in Indiana before emptying into Lake Michigan at St. Joseph, Michigan.

The St. Joseph River Watershed by the Numbers:

  • 4,685 square miles are drained by the river (watershed size)
  • 3rd largest watershed draining to Lake Michigan
  • 2 states - Indiana and Michigan share the watershed
  • 3,000 square miles of the watershed are in Michigan
  • 1,685 square miles of the watershed are in Indiana
  • 15 counties are entirely or partially within the watershed
  • 1,524,941 people live in the watershed (2000 Census)
  • 210 miles - length of the main branch of the river
  • 2 times - the main branch crosses the IN/MI state line
  • 1,631 miles - length of significant tributaries to the river
  • 600 feet of fall from the headwaters to Lake Michigan
  • 70% of the watershed land is used for crop/animal production
  • 50% of historic wetlands in the watershed have been lost

Click here to download a watershed fact sheet.  More information (including the Watershed Management Plan) is available here.


View St. Joseph River Watershed in a larger map

Friends of the St. Joe River Association, Inc.                                                                                                          
P.O. Box 1794
South Bend, Indiana 46634

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