The Chippewa River
The Chippewa River is scenic, beautiful, and enjoyed by many residents, student and visitors. During the summer you often see fishermen, kayakers, canoers, tubers, and swimmers in the river. In Isabella County, the Chippewa River is fairly clean above the confluence of the North Branch of the Chippewa River, where the two rivers meet. After the confluence of the North Branch the Main Branch takes on sediment, pathogens, and nutrients. This is because the North Branch is contaminated and consistently exceeds State of Michigan Water Quality Standards.
One issue that proves to be particularly problematic is the consistently high E.coli concentrations. E.coli is bacteria that lives in the gut of humans and animals and is an indicator of fecal contamination. Fecal contamination contains harmful pathogens that can cause illness and disease in humans. There are times when the E.coli concentrations in the Chippewa River exceed the State of Michigan threshold for E.coli, posing a public health concern. The exceedances typically occur downstream (east) of the confluence with the North Branch of the Chippewa River. Currently the State of Michigan and local government agencies are working towards addressing the E.coli issue in the Chippewa River with the support of the SCIT.