Winter 2020

Table of Contents

Hope College Student Research Presentations
Lakeshore Cleanup Coalition Website
The MACC Bids Farewell to Two Staff Members
Macatawa Watershed Annual Report
Lake Macatawa TMDL Annual Report
Project Clarity Fall Update

Hope College Student Research Presentations

The Macatawa Watershed Annual meeting was held via Zoom on Monday, November 16, from 6:30-8:30pm. The meeting featured presentations from three groups of Hope College Advanced Environmental Seminar Students. Topics included the presence of heavy metals in Lake Macatawa sediment, bioaccumulation of heavy metals in earthworms, and macro plastic pollution in storm drain discharge.

The team of Kaylee DeRoo, Helen Holt, Christian Lundy, and Jacob VanderRoest studied the presence of heavy metals in Lake Macatawa sediment. They were interested in this topic based on previous student research that looked at concentrations of heavy metals in fish. The main questions they wanted to answer included which metals were present and at which concentration, are concentrations dependent on location and are the concentrations at a level of concern. They sampled sediment from the north and south sides of the river near Window on the Waterfront where there is a history of industrial use. They did find measurable amounts of lead, cadmium, chromium, and selenium, but did not find detectable limits of arsenic at any location. The highest concentration of most samples were well below both the Michigan and EPA standards, the one exception being several samples with selenium higher than the Michigan standard.

The team of Dominic DeVito, Erin Kahn, and Madison Kerber studied bioaccumulation of heavy metals in earthworms. They were interested in this topic to estimate potential exposure risk to the  local environment and ecosystem via biomagnification. Biomagnification is a process where concentrations of toxic chemicals increase in tissue as they move up the food chain. The main questions they wanted to answer included what are the concentrations of cadmium, chromium, lead and nickel in earthworms, are concentrations dependent on locations, how do the locations correlate with human exposure, and what are the biomagnification risks and possible ecological of human health implications. They collected worms from 11 sites throughout the watershed that included various land uses (industrial, agricultural, residential, natural). All of the samples analyzed were found to be within safe limits according to several different environmental standards, including from the World Health Organization and the State of Michigan. Overall, the determined that industrial and residential sites had higher concentrations, but there was low risk since all concentrations were within safe limits.

The team of Kaelyn Lagerwall, Kate Kay, and Alex Vasquez studied macro plastic pollution in storm drain discharge. They were interested in this topic based on previous studies of microplastic pollution and the need to understand the upstream sources of plastic pollution. The main questions they wanted to answer was if plastic pollution was present in storm drain discharge, what is the most common type, size and state of the plastic pollution, and how do major rain events impact the amount. They collected plastic pollution from two location, one at Window on the Waterfront and one near Visser Farms on Chicago Drive. They found a greater amount of plastic pollution at the Visser Farm site. At both locations, the dominant type of plastic was packaging materials. They did not find a significant relationship between abundance or total weight and rainfall. Overall, based on the amount of plastic found at these two locations, it indicates that this could be a severe issue over time as more and more pollution accumulates.

You can view a video of both the student presentations and other updates provided at the meeting here.

Pictured from left to right: Alexander Vasquez, Madison Kerber, Dominic DeVito, Erin Kahn (top photo), Kaelyn Lagerwall (bottom photo), Jacob VanderRoest, Katherine Kay, Christian Lundy, Kaylee DeRoo, and Helen Holt.

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Lakeshore Cleanup Coalition Website

The MACC and six West Michigan partners formed a Lakeshore Cleanup Coalition as part of a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to remove trash from the Great Lakes. The Coalition hosted several cleanup events this year and is planning a lot more starting next spring. Each partner will host and run their own events, but the MACC created a central webpage to advertise all events and report their results. The website includes a list of all events along with a map that displays the results of past events and information about upcoming events.

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The MACC Bids Farewell to Two Staff Members

Two MACC employees have recently moved on to new opportunities. Rob Vink, Project Manger, started a new position in late October and Carolyn Ulstad, Transportation Planner, started a new position in late November. The MACC greatly appreciates both of their efforts with the MACC and will greatly miss them. We wish them all the best in their new and future endeavors!

From Rob:

It has been a great experience working at the MACC. Along with our many partners we have made big steps for conservation in the agricultural community. My time at the MACC has come to an end. I am excited to start a new job but sad to leave one that has brought fulfillment and satisfaction for nearly 4 years. I will continue to work with farmers in the Holland and Zeeland area as a Crop Consultant at Nutrien Ag. Solutions in West Olive. The past several years have made a huge impact on my life and will undoubtedly shape my future interactions with farmers, even in a retail setting. Thank you to all my wonderful colleagues at the MACC and to the many great partners I have had the opportunity to work with. I know our paths will cross again and I look forward to continuing the work of promoting sound agricultural conservation practices in and beyond the Macatawa Watershed. Rob Vink, rob.vink@nutrien.com

From Carolyn:

The MACC has been a major part of my life over the past seven years and leaving the organization will be a big transition. I recently opened my Outlook calendar and went month by month from my first day in the spring of 2013 to now, reviewing all of the different meetings, events, and projects I’ve worked on. It’s been an incredible learning experience and I’m immensely thankful to everyone I’ve been able to work with over the years. In December my husband and I will be moving up to the Traverse City region where I’ll start collaborating with the team at Groundwork, working to advance transit, rail, pedestrian, and cycling infrastructure. We will greatly miss the Holland area but are excited to take on a new adventure and be able to spend more time with family and friends up north.

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Macatawa Watershed Annual Report

The 2020 Macatawa Watershed Annual Report is now available. This report summarizes accomplishments of the Environmental Program, including outreach and education efforts, stormwater management, agricultural conservation, and other projects.

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Lake Macatawa TMDL Annual Report

To protect Lake Macatawa’s water quality, the State of Michigan established a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for phosphorus for the lake in 1999. The State partnered with the MACC to develop a plan for reducing phosphorus inputs to the lake and restoring water quality. The MACC has been working with various community partners ever since to conduct community outreach, install conservation practices and monitor water quality. As part of an agreement with the Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy, the MACC publishes a report each year to outline the progress that we are making toward meeting water quality goals. That report is now available and can be viewed or downloaded from the MACC’s website.

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Project Clarity Fall 2020 Update

Project Clarity is an initiative of the ODC Network that was launched in 2013 to accelerate the efforts to restore Lake Macatawa’s water quality. The community and grant agencies have made significant contributions in support of this effort. The most recent update can be viewed here.

 

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