The Macatawa Watershed covers approximately 175 square miles of land and consists of all the land that drains to Lake Macatawa, including all or part of Laketown, Fillmore, Overisel, Holland, Park, Zeeland, Port Sheldon, Olive and Blendon Townships and the cities of Holland and Zeeland.

Macatawa Watershed aerial photoThe Macatawa Watershed is experiencing harmful levels of phosphorus, a naturally occurring element present in fertilizer, animal waste, and soils. Excess phosphorus causes too many plants to grow in the water. Plant decay robs the water of oxygen causing fish and plants to die leading to deteriorating water quality.

To view the progress of Phosphorous reduction in Lake Macatawa please read our 2014 Annual Report.

For a map of the watershed click here.

History of the Macatawa Watershed Project

In 1999, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus in Lake Michigan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Lake Macatawa Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load was approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in April 2000. The TMDL mandates a reduction in the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Macatawa from 138,500 lbs per year (1997 level) to 55,000 lbs per year.

In October of 2000, a cooperative agreement was reached among the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council (MACC) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and point source representatives to meet this commitment. The cities of Holland and Zeeland, and the townships of Holland, Zeeland, Fillmore, Laketown, and Park are included in this Macatawa Watershed Phosphorus Reduction Loading Agreement. In 2010, this agreement was updated and reaffirmed by the members of the MACC, demonstrating their strong support for the Macatawa Watershed Project. The latest version of the voluntary agreement can be found here.

This local agreement is part of an overall effort to:

  • Increase the awareness of water quality issues among Allegan and Ottawa County stakeholders
  • Increase the involvement of Allegan and Ottawa Country stakeholders in the Macatawa Watershed Management Plan
  • The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council agreed to oversee a comprehensive watershed project aimed at reducing the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Macatawa by 70% .