Susan Creek

Description and Background

Susan Creek is an intermittent stream that originates at Susan Lake. It is the second-largest tributary of the Little Traverse Bay Watershed. Susan Creek is nearly 5 miles long. Much of the area that Susan Creek runs through is privately owned. The surrounding land includes forested wetlands and agricultural, residential, industrial, and conservancy land. Fifty-five acres of this land is Tribal conservation land known as the Taimi Hoag Natural Area.

This geographic area surrounding Susan Lake and Susan Creek has cultural significance to the Tribe. The area surrounding and adjacent to Susan Creek was traveled by the Odawa bands when migrating north. There is still an active Native American church and burial ground near the headwaters.  Susan Lake and Creek were and are still used for fishing, hunting, and gathering. Spear fishing was an active way to fish for trout, steelhead and suckers during the spring and fall runs (when salmon and trout attempt to spawn) in Susan Creek. The LTBB Taimi Hoag Natural Area is open to Tribal citizens for fishing, hunting, and gathering with proper licenses.

The Tribe manages the area of the creek that is within LTBB Taimi Hoag Natural Area and collaborates with the Little Traverse Conservancy (LTC) in maintaining the trails and any other upkeep within these areas. LTC has preserve land that connects to the LTBB conservation land.

There are two monitoring sites on Susan Creek and they are monitored May-October every year. These sites are monitored more frequently due to the use by Tribal citizens and because the creek may be applicable for EPA approved water quality standards and uses. SNC2A, the upstream site, is located downstream of lowland wetland areas and some agricultural land. It is within the LTC Susan Creek Preserve property. SNC1A is located within the Taimi Hoag Natural Area and is upstream of the mouth and U.S. 31 North. To view a map of these sites locations please reference Map 7 in the Appendix. In addition, the areas within the property determined as wetlands by the National Wetlands Inventory were biologically monitored by conducting a Floristic Quality Assessment in 2014.

Tribal Uses and Attainment

The following Tribal uses are applied to Susan Creek: IAW, CF, and PC (during May through October). The primary use at all sites is IAW. All Tribal uses are supported based on LTBB data results. 


DO Dissolved Oxygen
Respiration for fish, other aquatic organisms

TEMP Temperature
General aquatic life support and reproduction

COND Conductivity
General aquatic life support, dissolved solids indicator

CHLOR Chlorides
General life support, salinity indicator, drinking water pollutant

PH Potential Hydrogen Ion Concentration 
Acidity/alkalinity indicator, drinking water pollutant

TP Total Phosphorous
Major algae nutrient, fertilizer/manure runoff indicator

TN Total Nitrogen
Major algae nutrient, drinking water pollutant, fertilizer/manure runoff indicator

CHL-A Chlorophyll-a 
Algae concentration indicator

HAB Habitat
Instream and riparian structure to support life cycles of fish and other organisms

MAC Macroinvertebrates
Indicator of water quality based on the diversity of pollution tolerant and intolerant
aquatic insects and non-insects that are visible to the naked eye and do not have a backbone

TSS Total Suspended Solids 
Indicator of aquatic life support, oxygen levels

FQA Floristic Quality Assessments
Indicates quality of wetland based on the plant community present 


Poor    Fair   Good   Very Good