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The City of Eaton Rapids is part of the Upper Grand River Watershed District.  This is where the Grand River starts.  Springs bubble up through the ground, melting snow fills wetlands until they overflow, and raindrops collect to flow across fields and city streets.  All of these combine to form the headwaters, the source, of Michigan’s longest river.  10 to 15,000 years ago, glaciers sculpted south-central Michigan.  On the other side of hills to the east, streams that form the River Raisin and the Huron River flow southeast to Lake Erie.  But from the northeast corner of Hillsdale and southern Jackson Counties, the Grand River begins a 260 mile journey north and west to Lake Michigan.

The Grand River is so long that it’s more manageable if broken into two parts.  The Upper Grand River Watershed is the headwaters; from Hilllsdale County north, through the City of Jackson, past Eaton Rapids.  The Lower Grand River flows on from there; through Lansing and Grand Rapids to Grand Haven.

The Upper Grand River Watershed encompasses most of Jackson County, the southern tier of Ingham County, and small corners of Hillsdale, Eaton, Calhoun and Washtenaw Counties – from south of the City of Jackson, north past Eaton Rapids.  It’s an area dominated by farms, woods, and wetlands.  But cities and towns along the way are growing as people able to commute to Jackson, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, and beyond move here to enjoy the wonderful scenery and rural character of the watershed.  How the region grows, and how we protect the headwaters, will determine the health of the River throughout its length.

A watershed, sometimes called a river basin or a catchment, is a kind of tilted bowl in the landscape.  Within that shallow bowl, water gathers and flows downhill, ultimately to a common outlet at the lowest elevation.  Watersheds are nested within one another.  For example; the watershed of Batteese Lake is part of the Batteese Creek watershed, which flows into the Portage River, which is tributary to the Grand River, which, along with the Muskegon, Pere Marquette, Kalamazoo and other rivers is part of the Lake Michigan Watershed.

Wherever you live, everywhere you go, you are in a watershed.  Eaton Rapids is proud to be in the Upper Grand……where life is simply Grand!

For more information on the Upper Grand River Watershed, visit

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