Rain Gardens: One Year Later
Grassed Waterways Reduce Erosion
Iron Slag Filters Remove Phosphorus in Drainage Water
Macatawa Water Festival Returns on July 17
Scrap Tire Recycling – July 31
Registration Open for 2021 West Michigan GSI Seminar
Cultivating Resilience Farm Field Day – August 26
In 2019, the City of Holland constructed four curb-cut rain gardens on 19th Street as part of a road reconstruction project. We installed plants installed in May 2020. The photos below show two of the four rain gardens on July 1, 2020 (left) and on July 2, 2021 (right). In the first year after planting, native plants put most of their energy into growing strong, deep roots. The second year, they will grow a lot more above ground and start to fill in. In year three, most species will reach full maturity and completely fill out the garden. We can’t wait to see what these gardens will look like next year!
The MACC currently has a grant from the Great Lakes Commission to work with farmers to install best practices to protect water quality. Specifically, we are using grant funds to help farmers plant cover crops and install grassed waterways.
Grassed waterways are pretty much what they sound like: a channel planted with grass that conveys water through a farm field. As water runs over the surface of the land, it follows the path of least resistance from uphill to downhill areas. Where water flow concentrates, soil will erode away if not protected by vegetation. We install grassed waterways in these paths where water concentrates to provide a stable channel for water to flow without causing erosion. The vegetation can also improve water quality by trapping sediment and nutrients that may be carried in runoff.
The photo below on the left shows an area of concentrated flow through a farm field. The MACC has hired an engineering firm to develop a plan for addressing the erosion in this field, that will include a grassed waterway. The photo below on the right shows a grassed waterway installed with a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant in 2019. Prior to installation, the field on the right looked a lot like the field on the left.
A farmer recently installed a new iron slag filter in the watershed in Overisel Township (see construction photo below). Other farmers have installed several others in various areas of the watershed to help filter phosphorus out of tile drain discharge. Tile drains from a farm field flow through the filter where dissolved phosphorus adheres to the iron slag. Over time, iron becomes saturate with phosphorus so it is removed and replaced with new iron slag. The removed material is processed into fertilizer.
Dissolved phosphorus is a concern for water quality because it is readily available to support aquatic plant and algae growth. Since it’s dissolved, it’s very difficult to remove from the water other than through a filter. These filters may not be appropriate to use everywhere in the watershed, but they are one tool we can use to address dissolved phosphorus in our watershed.
The Macatawa Water Festival will be held on Holland’s Windmill Island on Saturday, July 17 from 9am-1pm. Over 20 community partners and sponsors will come together to offer water activities and education experiences designed to engage people of all ages to learn about restoring and preserving our lake and watershed.
Kayak or bike around the island, fish for trout (youth under 17 years old), learn about native and invasive plants, make an upcycled craft, perform water quality experiments, and much more!
The event is free and all are welcome to attend!
Click here to learn more or to sign up.
Registration fees apply. Up to 4 PDHs are available for Professional Engineers and NGICP. Click here to learn more or to register.