Meeting Ecological and Agricultural Needs within the

Dowagiac River System

Contents -

For our Accomplishments and Goals see "More MEANDRS".

Want to know how to get invovled? see Activities.

Want to go with the flow ? - - see DRS up close.

Delve into the history of the DRS.

Study the issues in Science.

What benefits can restoration have for the future of the Dowagiac region?

Our Projects Page has details on Dodd Park and Small Stream Restoration.

Enjoy our wildlife gallery.

How to contact MEANDRS.

Links to some of our partners and other places of interest on the Web.

What's New? 

Small Stream Restoration on Dowagiac Creek and Dowagiac Mill Pond Heritage are new sections. Most other sections have been updated as of April, 2000.

NOTICE: Interested persons are envited to attend MEANDRS meetings at 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Dowagiac Conservation Club, located north of Dowagiac on M-51 at Cook Lake.

Please call 616-445-8643 (extension 3) to confirm time and place.

To navigate the site, use the links at the bottom of each page. Contents are described at the left side of this page.

Paddling on the DowagiacThe Dowagiac River, rises in Van Buren County, and flows through Cass and Berrien Counties into the Saint Joseph River north of Niles, Michigan.


"It is a rare treasure located in southwestern Michigan."


Photo by Randy Rea

This river system has potential as outstanding trout habitat because of its geology.

· The Dowagiac River System (DRS) occupies a channel cut by the glacial Kalamazoo/Illinois river during the last Ice Age.
· It flows through through deep, coarse outwash deposits, now a predominantly agricultural watershed, with large areas of organic soils.
· The high permeability of these sediments and relatively high elevations of surrounding outwash deposits supply the Dowagiac and its tributaries with a large, constant volume of groundwater--the key to outstanding trout habitat.

Groundwater dominated streams are distinctive.

· They are little disturbed by floods or droughts.
· They maintain fairly constant water temperatures year-round.

These same mechanisms drive the world famous trout streams of northern Michigan, such as the Au Sable, which have large groundwater aquifers and stable cold stream flows.

Balanced restoration of the DRS holds promise as natural asset to benefit the region.

· The DRS is the only large stream system of this caliber in the southern portion of the state.
· A healthy Dowagiac River would rank among the finest trout rivers in the Midwest.
· Its nutrient-rich loamy soils would also make it one of the most productive.

Its location near the major urban areas of Chicago, South Bend, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids would make it a major recreational attraction in southwest Michigan. -- Jay Wesley

Presettlement River with Landcover


 M E A N D R S
A partnership for Meeting Ecological and Agricultural Needs within the Dowagiac River System -- is a not-for-profit organization begun in 1995 which is interested in education on, protection and restoration of, the Dowagiac River System.

The ecological possibilities of the DRS, particualarly as a trout stream, have long been recognized, and since its inception in 1995, MEANDRS has generated a good deal of public interest.

MEANDRS has a governing board made up of riparian property owners and local government officials, with technical advisors from regional and State authorities and other interest groups. The group is multi-faceted and is working toward improving the DRS for recreation and other uses while maintaining and respecting the rights of riparian owners, farmers, and other stakeholders within the watershed.

-- "Pokagon Township Reflections" by Barbara Wood Cook and Grafton H. Cook II

Click the image at the left to see a map of
"Presettlement Land Cover"
(approx. 85K)


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