Summer 2020

Table of Contents

MACC Hires Team to Design Green Infrastructure Projects
Rain Gardens Planted on 19th Street
Agricultural Update
Macatawa Water Festival
Green Infrastructure Seminar is Going Virtual!
Project Clarity 2020 Spring Update

MACC Hires Team to Design Green Infrastructure Projects

Earlier this year, the EPA awarded a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to the MACC. The grant includes funding to install green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) at City Hall and Kollen Park. GSI uses practices that capture stormwater runoff and infiltrate it into the ground. Traditional stormwater practices collect stormwater and deliver it directly to our lakes and streams.

The first step in the process was to hire a team to design the projects. We used a competitive bid process and our review team awarded the contract to the team of Drummond Carpenter and Fishbeck. This team includes both professional engineers experienced in GSI design and a landscape architect that will help maximize aesthetics of the projects. Some team members visited the sites on June 10 (pictured below at City Hall).

Both projects will likely include some type of rain garden or bioswale. These practices accept stormwater runoff and either help it infiltrate into the ground or slow it down and remove pollutants before it enters surface water. Various types of plants, including trees, wildflowers and grasses, can be included.

We will present final designs to Holland City staff and council members in early to mid August. We anticipate that construction will occur in 2021.

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Rain Gardens Planted on 19th Street

The MACC is working with the City of Holland to install rain gardens in select parkways scheduled for reconstruction. Parkway rain gardens accept stormwater runoff from the street, allowing water to temporarily pond (24-48 hours) and soak into the ground. In order for water to get into the parkway, an opening must be cut in the curb. However, road reconstruction projects that require a new curb provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate rain gardens.

The MACC reached out to homeowners on 19th Street last year and identified four willing to install and maintain a rain garden in their parkway. The City constructed these gardens in fall 2019 and planted on May 29, 2020. We are planning more gardens on 20th and 21st Streets this year since those roads are under reconstruction. Fortunately, the MACC has a grant to help offset the cost of these gardens for both the City and the homeowner. Eligible landowners will receive a letter from the MACC in the fall prior to the road construction. Interested landowners must agree to maintain the rain garden installed in their parkway. The MACC’s grant also has funding to install rain gardens and other practices on private property. Visit www.the-macc.org/environmental-program/rainscaping/ for more information or contact Kelly Goward at kgoward@the-macc.org

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Agricultural Update

Michigan farmers are in the midst of the best planting conditions they have had in the past three years. Warm weather and a jet stream that drove wet weather elsewhere provided conditions that we haven’t seen in recent years. The five year average according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for June 5 is 77% of available acres planted in Michigan. This year’s progress sits at 83%, a far cry from 2019’s 39% progress. Nearly all of the Midwest states are at or above average in their planting progress. It was a break that many farmers needed after struggling through several wet seasons.

Locally in the Macatawa Watershed, planting progress is in line with the state average. Many growers, including those who participate in MACC programs, are ahead of where they were over the last few years. While many of us started working from home amidst the Covid 19 pandemic, farmers continued to plant crops, essentially business as usual for many of them.  When the weather and planting conditions are as good as we are currently seeing, the Macatawa Watershed benefits.  Warm and dry weather typically reduces the need for extensive tillage. Farmers who no-till plant saw suitable conditions sooner than normal (examples of no-till planting pictured at right). The sooner plants start growing, the less opportunity for soil erosion to occur. Plant growth essentially armors the soil and reduces the amount of erosion created by rain falling on exposed soil.

Even with a smoother planting season, farmers are still struggling. Schools closing has significant impacts on the dairy supply. A significant amount of milk is served at schools throughout the nation. Similarly with restaurants being shuttered, the demand for meat products has shrunk. One would think that this would mean lower prices and more meat available to consumers. However, Covid outbreaks at meat packing plants meant shutting those plants down and less product was entering the marketplace.

Many farmers are taking the steps needed in order for them to directly market their products to consumers by opening certified and inspected on-farm shops that sell meat and other farm products. You will see a number of growers in the Holland/Zeeland area are doing this. Residential development is increasingly encroaching on formerly rural areas within the watershed. This is creating an opportunity for farmers to bring their products directly to a local market. The availability of social media has made promotion of those products easy and inexpensive. Purchasing product on farm is great way to support your local farmer. When you buy local, the money stays local and helps build a thriving community. Investing in farms today means that there will be farms in your community for the future.  And to top it off, you will find that it is fresher and tastes better than anything you have had!

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Macatawa Water Festival

The Macatawa Water Festival will look a little different this year. In order to maintain compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, organizers decided to cancel the in-person event on Windmill Island. Instead, partners will offer many opportunities to participate in both virtual and smaller in-person events from July 11-July 17. Details are still developing, but updates will be posted on the ODC Network’s website and Facebook pages.

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Green Infrastructure Seminar is Going Virtual!

The MACC’s 2020 green infrastructure seminar, Planning Green Infrastructure in a Changing World, will also be a little different this year. (Kind of ironic given the theme we selected for the 2020 seminar.) We are planning to stick close to the original format by having a live webinar on August 27. The planning team is finalizing details with the speakers and hope to have a final agenda ready to open registration after the 4th of July.

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Project Clarity Spring 2020 Update

The annual Project Clarity Community Breakfast was not held this year due to COVID-19. Instead, an update was provide in the form of a report. While we continue to see progress, there are still improvement that we need to make. Project partners will be workgin this year to evalute the work that have been done and prioritize work moving forward. If you have not reviewed the report, you can read or download a copy at the link below.

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