The MACC’s 2016 transportation program contains $41.8 million in federal, state and local funding including over $9.5 million to implement 14 local road, transit and nonmotorized projects. The first local road project receiving federal funds, Port Sheldon Street from US-31 to 120th Avenue, has been completed.
On August 3rd the MACC hosted a farm tour, the Growing Together Tour: A Look at On-Farm Best Management Practices. The tour was aimed at area farmers but also attracted a number of area residents and elected officials. Starting at the Outdoor Discovery Center, attendees were able to hear a review of the Macatawa Watershed Projects activities and overall efforts in the watershed concerning the reduction of phosphorus loading from Kelly Goward of the MACC.
The group of twelve people were then bussed to Dykhuis Farms and were able to learn about the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program from area verifier, Dan Busby. MAEAP, established by Governor Snyder in 2011 is a voluntary program for Michigan farmers to farmers to become better educated about management options in order to help protect and enhance the quality of natural resources. After which the group was given an overhead view of Dykhuis Farms and their on-going projects to prevent soil erosion on the farm. Bob Dykhuis, treated the tour to a hands on display of precision agricultural equipment; designed to reduce surface disturbance and minimize soil compaction.
At Quarterline Farms, Dan Callam, Greenway Manager for the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway showed the group on farm developments concerning the design and development of a two-stage ditch put in place through funding from Project Clarity. Two stage ditches are a variation of a standard V-shaped drainage ditch, in which a shelf is placed on the slopes of the ditch above the normal water level. When water levels rise following a weather event, the ditches allow for extra water storage, slowing down the increased flow.
The final farm stop of the day, turkey farmer Dirk Pyle was able to take the group on a walking tour of his fields to see the emergence of a ryegrass and clover cover crop, planted at differing seeding rates to show effects in stand emergence. A big believer in hands on learning, Aaron and Dirk took attendees trough cornfields to see the difference that seeding rates, water availability, and canopy cover all have on the emergence of cover crops. Aaron addressed the availability of funding to area farmers for agricultural best management practices and Dirk was able to address specific questions and concerns about cover crops from the group, notably from the farmers.
Back at the Outdoor Discovery Center, Dan Callam delivered a review of completed and on-going projects and practices of Project Clarity. Attendees were also given a feel for how the MACC, MAEAP, USDA and local Conservation Districts all interact in their efforts to curtail the amount of sediment and phosphorus loading and other areas of concern.
The tour was commended as a success by attendees who were excited to see firsthand the on-going efforts of the MACC and its partners as well as the successes that finished projects represent in the efforts for a cleaner watershed.
Mark your calendars for two very fun events! First, put on a pair of waders and join us for the Fall Macroinvertebrate (water bugs) sampling on Tuesday, September 20th from 1pm-4pm. We will meet at Adams Street Landing (10363 Adams St, Holland), form teams and head to several other locations. Equipment will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring or wear mud boots and be prepared to get wet and/or muddy! Volunteers ages 10 and up are welcome and no experience is necessary. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
The next event you will want to join is our 10th Annual Macatawa River Cleanup on Saturday, September 24th from 1pm-4pm. This event is great for families who want to spend an afternoon together working to keep our
beloved river clean and debris free. Volunteers can choose to walk along the banks of the river or paddle in kayaks. Volunteers will meet in the parking lot near the River Avenue Bridge and 1st Street (19 N River Ave, Holland, MI). Anyone under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
With hot days and a stricter ozone standard, we’ll likely see more Action Days in West Michigan. This is one of the reasons why we are working extra hard this summer to partner with local businesses to promote the education of Action Days to their employees!