Welcome to the Bean! 


The Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition
is a group of residents, farmers, lake and stream property owners, Hillsdale USDA-NRCS, local government representatives, non-profit organizations -- all concerned with protection of the streams and lakes of the Bean Creek Watershed in the Lake Erie basin. This website focuses mainly on the Bean Creek Watershed in Michigan.

A largely agricultural watershed, the Bean is unique in southern Michigan with several excellent coldwater tributaries. It also has history of water quality problems in several stream stretches, including erosion and sedimentation, pathogen contamination from failed septic systems, and bacterial contamination from intensive livestock operations. For administration of grant projects, the Coalition is affiliated with the non-profit Community Action Agency of Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Jackson Counties.

Bean Creek has its headwaters near Devil's Lake in lower Michigan. The stream flows south through Michigan to the Tiffin River in Ohio, which joins the Maumee River, entering Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio. The Bean Creek Watershed in Michigan (sometimes called the Upper Tiffin) includes three small towns, Addison in the north, Hudson halfway downstream, and Morenci at the Ohio border.

The Bean's main tributaries are Branch Creek, St. Joseph Creek, an excellent-quality stream in its headwaters, with numerous mussel species (see short videos of the St. Joseph Creek on YouTube); Lime Creek, which has stretches listed as impaired -- Michigan 303(d) list; Toad Creek and Silver Creek.

Endangered Species in the Bean Creek Watershed
An endangered fish -- the redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus) -- has been documented in the Watershed, once near the Bean's outflow from Devil's Lake, and more recently just north of Hudson. The redside dace is legally protected in Michigan. It requires undisturbed headwaters streams with rocky riffles for spawning and overhanging vegetation for cool water.
redside dace
Redside dace (photo & more information: MNFI)

The endangered salamander mussel (Simpsonaia ambigua) was documented near Morenci in the 1930s. The Coalition is working for a grant to re-survey its particular habitat, under flat rocks.

Several other species of mussels (clams) found in the Watershed are rare – slippershell mussel is Threatened in Michigan, 2 others are of Special Concern in Michigan.
Slippershell mussel, St. Joseph Creek, tributary of Bean Creek
See more on the mussels of Bean Creek

Bean Creek Watershed in Michigan
beantowns    mioh  surf

Watershed Facts (from USDA-NRCS)

  • Total Watershed Acres --- 234,240
    -- 76% is cropped
    -- 12% is wooded
    -- 4% is pasture
    -- 8% is in other land uses
  • Total number of farms --- 1,120
  • Row-cropped acres --- 101,300
  • Approximately 50% of the cropland is rented
  • Number of livestock operations --- 70
  • Topography is rolling to steep north, and gently sloping to flat south
  • Elevation above sea level ranges from 1270 to 780 ft.
  • Soil texture distribution:
    loam -- 53.6%
    sandy loam -- 21.4%
    muck -- 6.5%
    clay loam -- 5.3%
    silty clay loam -- 4.9%
    silty loam -- 4.6%
    loamy sand and sand -- 1.3%
  • There are 18 lakes in the watershed