Another Successful Macatawa Water Festival
Road-Stream Crossing Inventory
Growing Together Tour
Fall River Cleanup
All Drains Lead to the Ocean
Sediment Reductions for Agricultural Practices Flourishing
Project Clarity Update
Over 20 exhibitors and sponsors came together on a blustery Saturday, July 9, to put on the 2016 Macatawa Water Festival. The lead sponsor was Meijer who provided free water and fresh fruit to everyone that attended. Despite the wind and overcast conditions, a good time was had by all. Participants were able to take a paddle around the island in a kayak or voyager canoe, ride a bicycle around the island, fish for trout, play games, make crafts, and learn about water through many different hands-on and interactive displays. The MACC would like to thank all exhibitors, sponsors and volunteers that helped to make the 2016 Macatawa Water Festival a success!
The MACC was awarded a grant this spring to help with the inventory of 55 road-stream crossings within the Macatawa Watershed. The program, funded by MiCorps, started in 2014 with a single pilot grant and is now in its second year of full program funding. The program provides dollars to volunteer monitoring groups that want to assess the condition of road-stream crossings to better protect and enhance those streams in the future. This year, the MACC was awarded funding as well as the Muskegon Conservation District and the Calhoun Conservation District.
The 55 locations in the Macatawa Watershed were chosen based on a past inventory project from 2008 that used a more simplified bank erosion hazard index. Sites that were identified at that time as being moderate or severe for erosion were prioritized to look at again this year to see if they have continued to degrade or if improvement projects have already been completed. To help with the inventory of sites, both the Allegan and Ottawa County Road Commissions and Drain and Water Resource Commissioners will be assisting the MACC as well as college interns and other interested volunteers from the public.
Teams will assess the stream crossings on multiple levels. Each data sheet completed will address the structural conditions of the water-pass (culvert or bridge) and stream information such as flow, water depth and what material makes up the stream bottom. The data sheets also include road condition and areas where erosion may be present.
In the end, the data collected from the sites will help make decisions on where improvements are needed and which sites should take top priority. The road commissions will also benefit by being able to take this information and look at it side by side with their own project schedules. For instance, if a road or bridge needs replacement in the near future, they can look to see if the stream where the road crosses has been identified as a high priority. If it has, they may be able to make two improvements at one time.
Scheduled Inventory Dates
Friday, August 5, 1pm-5pm (Park & Holland Township, meet at MACC office)
Saturday, August 6, 8am-Noon (Overisel Township, meet at Zeeland Township Hall)
Thursday, August 11, 1pm-5pm (Fillmore Township, meet at Fillmore Township Hall)
Your RSVP is required for all events. For more information or to sign up to be a volunteer, contact Kelly Goward at email@example.com or 616-395-2688. Due to safety concerns and working conditions, we prefer volunteers aged 18 and up.
Paul Lilly (far left) waiting for an object to float to the other side of the culvert to calculate the speed of the water. Peter Klooster, Allegan County Drain Commission (sitting on right), has stop watch in hand, and ready to write down the time is MACC intern Allison Veldheer. Photo was taken at a training event held for partners and some volunteers on July 12, 2016.
Free lunch is included. MAEAP Phase 1 certification is available.
The MACC is hosting a tour of on-farm best management practices that were recently installed in the Macatawa Watershed. Participants will learn about cover crops, interseeding technology and storm water storage methods. The tour will include practices funded by the MACC’s current Great Lakes Commission grant and Project Clarity. The tour will also discuss practices that will be installed under the MACC’s new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant that was awarded this spring. Bus transportation is included and the tour will include walking through farm fields. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by July 25 to Kelly Goward at 616-395-2688 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Limited spaces are still availalbe but your RSVP is needed no later than noon on August 2. To register contact the MACC at 616-395-2688 or email Aaron Spicer at email@example.com
Help clean the Macatawa River!
September 24, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Teams will set out on foot or in boats to collect trash around the banks of the Macatawa River! Anyone under 16 years old must be with an adult. All boats, paddles and life vests will be provided. A limited number of seats are available in boats. Volunteers will be coordinated for clean-up at the River Avenue Bridge parking lot off of 1st Street
(19 N River Ave, Holland, MI 49423)
Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register contact Outdoor Discovery Center at 616-393-9453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The characters in the Pixar film Finding Nemo are absolutely right—all drains, storm water and sanitary, do indeed lead to the ocean! Some drains have a more interesting journey to get there, via a wastewater treatment plant, but they get there nonetheless. Even from the Macatawa Watershed.
Lake Macatawa flows into Lake Michigan which is connected to Lake Huron via the Straights of Mackinac. Lake Huron flows through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River and finally makes it to Lake Erie. Lake Erie is connected to Lake Ontario through Niagara Falls. From Lake Ontario, water continues its journey through the Saint Lawrence River before finally making it to the Atlantic Ocean. This is quite a journey that can take over 90 years to complete!
So why does this even matter to those of us living in the Macatawa Watershed today? Because the impacts of how we treat our water resources now will be felt for generations to come. Pollution that enters storm drains accidentally or intentionally can have long-term negative impacts on water quality. Even some items that leave our homes in the sanitary sewer that are not removed at the wastewater treatment plant and can harm water quality, such as micro-plastics and pharmaceuticals. The water quality impacts we see now in the Great Lakes are the result of the actions of generations that came before us, way back to the original settlers of the Great Lakes Basin. An ancient Indian proverb sums it up well: “Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Okay, but things are so messed up now, what I can possibly do about it? Excellent question; we’re glad you asked! Every journey, whether you’re travelling or trying to change the world, starts with one step. That one step leads to another and then another. Maybe somewhere along the journey other people see what you are doing, ask questions and join you because they want to help too. Here are some simple steps that you take on your journey to leaving the Earth a little better for our children:
For more information about these and other actions you can take, visit our Watershed page.
By Aaron Spicer, Agricultural Technician (and Farmer)
The MACC was awarded a Great Lakes Commission – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant in 2013. Work on the grant has been on-going and will come to a close in September 2016. Over the course of the grant, ten farmers with land in the Upper Macatawa, Peters Creek and North Branch subwatersheds implemented a variety of best management practices to reduce sediment and phosphorus movement into Lake Macatawa. The table below provides a summary of the practices that were implemented and how much sediment and phosphorus were saved as a result.
In addition to the Great Lakes Commission grant, the MACC was awarded a new grant in May 2016 from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative program and practices are beginning to be implemented. Furthermore, farmers in the watershed have received financial assistance from Project Clarity for seeding cover crops, applying gypsum, building two-stage ditches and grassed waterways, and addressing other on-farm water quality issues.
Contributed by Dan Callam, Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway
After the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway (ODCMG) constructed the Haworth and Middle Macatawa wetland restorations last year in support of Project Clarity, ODCMG staff and our partners are still spending a lot of time at these sites and around the watershed. Staff from GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) and Niswander Environmental has been monitoring conditions within the wetlands as well as adjacent streams. AWRI staff has been monitoring differences in water quality upstream and downstream of these restoration sites following precipitation events. They look at a broad number of water quality indicators to assess the health of the streams. Additionally, they monitor Lake Macatawa for water quality quarterly and sample for fish population annually. Niswander Environmental have been monitoring the water levels within our new wetlands, as well as monitoring plant growth. When invasive species pop up, Niswander and ODCMG staff treat these plants before they can spread and outcompete native plants.