Two-Stage Channel Construction
Planning Green Stormwater Infrastructure in a Changing World
New EPA Grant to Support Trash Removal in West Michigan Waters
Algae vs Duckweed
ODC Network Launches Nature-Rich Community Program
City of Holland Green Stormwater Projects
After several years of planning, designing and navigating the State of Michigan permit process, the MACC has completed a project in Zeeland Township that will help improve water quality in Lake Macatawa. Working with a local farmer, we were able to reconstruct and stabilize a section of stream bank into a two-stage channel. This section of stream runs through a cattle pasture and includes a livestock crossing that will allow cattle to access pasture on both sides of the stream. The sides of the stream bank will be fenced off to restrict cattle access to the stream except at the crossing.
Two-stage channels are well suited for agricultural areas. They are created by excavating the stream bank above the high water mark to create a flood bench. This helps stabilize the channel and stream banks as well as increase the flood capacity within the channel. Vegetated flood benches help slow water flow and trap sediment. Because they are often wider than the existing stream, they provide a nice vegetated buffer that can help filter sediment and nutrients out of agricultural runoff from adjacent fields. They also provide a suitable location to place tile drain outlets. Studies have shown that vegetation in the flood bench can remove nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients from the water.
We are excited to see farmers committing to these kinds of practices. They are a great constructed best management practice and require little ongoing maintenance. They do take up some space that may cut into agricultural production, but we believe that benefits from reduced maintenance outweighs the loss of production area. Increased water quality protection is also a huge benefit.
The MACC’s fourth annual Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Seminar took place on August 27, 2020. The event was held virtually on Zoom from 9am-3pm and was sponsored by Kennedy Solutions Inc., Advanced Drainage Systems, Prein&Newhof, and the Grand Valley Metro Council.
The morning session began with Donald Carpenter, PhD, PE, LEED AP, Vice President of Drummond Carpenter, discussing how varying rainfall and lake level patterns impact successful GSI design. He also detailed how GSI can be implemented to improve community resiliency. Following Don, Ryan McEnhill, PE, Vice President of Eng. Inc., discussed implementation of stormwater design elements required under the new development rules. He also detailed case studies of various private development designs that have been submitted under the new rules. Next, Kelly Goward from the MACC discussed the importance of developing operation and maintenance plans for private stormwater BMP’s. She provided an overview of a guide the MACC developed to assist with this process. Finally, Mara Gericke, Assistant Planner at the MACC, presented the procedures and results of a GSI suitability map designed by the MACC that can be used to determine the most suitable locations for implementing GSI.
After lunch, attendees had the opportunity network in breakout rooms. Following this, Zach Vega, Community Planner at LIAA, introduced their new Community Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool and explained how it can be used across the state to facilitate discussions around community resilience. The afternoon session concluded with a panel discussion about resiliency planning moderated by Paul Sachs, Director of Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement. The panelists included Jenna Elswick, Senior Planner at the City of Holland, Stacy Fedewa, AICP, Community Development Director at Grand Haven Charter Township, and Jennifer Howland, Community Development Manager at the City of Grand Haven. The panelists discussed how each of their communities are addressing vulnerability to climate change by creating resiliency plans.
Both sessions were recorded. Recordings and copies of presentations are available here.
On July 21, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that the MACC was a finalist to receive a grant award through their new Trash Free Waters program. This grant programs aims to remove trash from the Great Lakes as well as reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the Lakes. The MACC will conduct lake and river cleanups as well as public outreach and education with a coalition of six additional local partners: Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, Ottawa Conservation District, Hope College, ODC Network, Allegan Conservation District, and the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council. Our goal is to host volunteer cleanup events at 24 beach and 4 river locations over the next 2 years. Some events will be held this fall, but many more over the next 2 summers. You will also start to see some litter reduction messages creeping into our social media posts, newsletters and community activities. To learn about current opportunities, click here.
The ODC Network recently hired Joe Sikma as their new Nature-rich Community Manager (pictured at right). In this new role, Joe will oversee the Nature-rich Community program, a sustainability initiative aimed at making our community the best place to live, work, play, and learn. Working in close collaboration with community partners, the program will encourage, engage, and educate an innovative and sustainable community culture. The ODC hopes to connect local residents, businesses, and organizations with opportunities to learn and act on topics including air and water quality, waste, energy efficiency, and other practices that promote the triple bottom line in West Michigan. Joe will also play an important role in the sustainability contract that the ODC recently signed with City of Holland as a part of the initiative.
The MACC is working with the City of Holland to plan green stormwater infrastructure retrofits at two city properties: City Hall and Kollen Park. The MACC received a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative earlier this year that is helping to pay for this work. Our summer newsletter included an article about the team that was hired to do the designs. Final designs were presented to the MACC and City staff on August 28.
The final designs for City Hall includes converting one of the parking lot islands (closest to River Ave) into a bioswale (see examples below) as well as a small rain garden in another island. The primary difference between the bioswale and the rain garden is that the bioswale needs underground pipes in order to deliver and control the amount of water in the garden. In order to maintain visual continuity, the design team also suggested converting some of the turf grass areas along 12th Street into native plant beds. The final designs for Kollen Park includes a bioswale, rain gardens and native planting areas at the north and south ends of the park.
The MACC and the City of Holland will work over the winter to bid the project and hire a contractor to construct the projects. We anticipate recruiting volunteers to help plant the native plants as well as assist with annual maintenance to remove weeds and debris.