St. Joseph Creek

The St. Joseph Creek and its tributaries are some of the best quality streams in the Bean Creek Watershed. Thirteen species of freshwater mussels, including 3 of Special Concern or Threatened in Michigan, have been identified where the stream flows through Wetland Reserve property near Beecher Rd: Round pigtoe (Pleurobema coccineum) and Rainbow mussel (Villosa iris), of Special Concern; and the Threatened Slippershell mussel (Alasmidonta viridi). See details on the mussel survey and photos here.

Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) with large tropical leaves and edible fruit, sometimes called the Michigan banana, grow in large colonies in the floodplain. The small native American brook lamprey (Lampetra appendix, not the invasive sea lamprey) spawns in the gravel streambeds each April for just a few days. The spawning days, usually April 14-16, have become a holiday for watershed workers, with tours to the stream.       

   Pawpaw leaves & pawpaw fruit (ripe in October); American brook lampreys, a native fish; and slippershell mussel, Threatened in Michigan.