Red Cedar River Watershed

A watershed is all of the land area that drains to a common body of water. You can learn more about watersheds by downloading this brochure. The Red Cedar River originates in Livingston County and flows north and then west for approximately 51 miles until it enters the Grand River in Lansing. The river is a thriving ecosystem and supports a variety of macroinvertebrate and fish species. However, as with most urban rivers, water quality problems exist. Pressures on the Red Cedar River include intensive agricultural land use in the headwaters and middle of the watershed and urban development downstream. Portions of the Red Cedar River Watershed do not always meet water quality standards for E. coli bacteria and dissolved oxygen. A watershed management plan was recently developed to address this issue and other potential pollutants in the water.

The Red Cedar River Watershed extends for 461 square miles, with approximately 100 square miles of urbanized area. The MSU campus is located within this urbanized portion of the watershed. The amount of contiguous land on the campus is 5,198 acres, or 8.1 square miles,  The Red Cedar River Watershed is a subwatershed of the Upper Grand River Watershed (view a full map of the Upper Grand here).

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At a Glance

Country USA
State Michigan
Counties Ingham, Livingston
Local Governments Fowlerville, Webberville, Williamston, Okemos, East Lansing, Lansing
Source Cedar Lake and surrounding area
- location Livingston County, Michigan, USA
- coordinates 42°31′03″N 83°58′42″W
Mouth Grand River
- location Lansing, Michigan, USA
- coordinates 42°43′29″N 84°32′53″W
Length 51 mi (82 km)
Basin 461 sq mi (1,194 km2)