Winter 2019


Table of Contents

MACC Selected as Finalist for New GLRI Grant
2019 Watershed Stakeholder of the Year
Hope College Student Research
2019 Annual Report Highlights
MACC Successfully Completes GLRI Grant
Six Years of Project Clarity

MACC Selected as Finalist for New GLRI Grant

Earlier this summer, the MACC submitted a grant application to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative requesting funds to install green stormwater infrastructure in the City of Holland. The EPA announced on December 19 that our project is one of 21 finalists selected for funding!

The project includes installing rain gardens in the parking lots at Holland City Hall and Kollen Park, permeable pavement at Kollen Park and curb cut rain gardens on several residential streets. We will also work with partners to bring the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) Rainscaping program to the Macatawa Watershed.

The grant award is just over $400,000 with the majority allocated to design and installation of green stormwater infrastructure. The remaining funds will help offset MACC staff time and reimburse project partners for their time spent on the project. Project partners include the City of Holland, the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, Holland BPW, the ODC Network, and LGROW.

Work on the project will not begin until a grant contract is signed, likely not for a few months. We will share more information about this project as it moves forward.

Curb cut rain garden installed in the City of Grand Rapids. Stormwater enters through the curb cut (top right) and spreads throughout the garden. This slows the water down, traps sediment and other pollutants and then allows the water to move into the soil. This help reduce the demand on our storm sewer pipes and reduces the amount of pollution that ends up in surface water.

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2019 Watershed Stakeholder of the Year

The MACC was pleased to present the 2019 Watershed Stakeholder of the Year Award to the Ottawa Conservation District (OCD). Since 2001, this award has been presented annually to a person(s), entity or organization who has been a strong supporter of the Macatawa Watershed or played an important role in advancing water quality goals. The OCD provides technical assistance to all county residents on natural resource issues. Current programs include tree and native plant sales, invasive species management, critical dune assurances, agricultural risk assessment and environmental verification through the Michigan Agricultural Environment Assurance Program, forest management assistance, and watershed projects in several subwatersheds of the Lower Grand River. In 2019, the OCD reached out to the MACC to collaborate on planning and hosting a farm field day and an Ottawa County conservation partner event. These efforts demonstrated their collaborative nature and recognition of the importance of partnerships. The MACC was pleased to have partnered with the OCD on these events and we look forward to continued collaboration on these and other efforts in the future.

Left to right: Megan Boos, Executive Director; Benjamin Jordan, Conservation Technician; Sara Bronkema, Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program Technician; Trevor Rose, Invasive Species Specialist; Drew Rayner, West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area Coordinator.

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Hope College Student Research

The MACC held the 2019 Macatawa Watershed Annual meeting on December 5. The meeting provided an opportunity for Hope College’s Advanced Environmental Seminar students to share results of their semester long research projects. Topics included rain composition in relation to wind direction and measurement of light pollution. Additional Hope College students and staff shared results of their research on heavy metals in fish and plastic pollution on beaches. Both Hope College and Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute faculty and staff shared results of water quality monitoring of Lake Macatawa and its tributaries.

You can view copies of presentations or papers here.

Front Row (left to right): Ashley Wrobel, Amy Olgers, Chelsea Moore, Josiah Peterson, Evan Bright, Jon Peterson. Back Row (left to right): Eli Kane, Ashish Duvvuru, Daniel Wade, Alec Berrodin

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2019 Annual Report Highlights

The Macatawa Watershed 2019 Annual Report summarizes much of the work completed in the watershed over the past year. You can view the entire report, but here are some highlights:


Outreach and Education
  • 12 community events and 4 community presentations
  • 2019 Water Festival held on July 13 at Windmill Island
  • 150 volunteers helped pick up trash, inventory road-stream crossings and stencil storm drains
Stormwater Management
  • Updated development rules to protect surface water quality
  • Conducted employee training about preventing pollution from municipal activities
  • 2019 Making the Case for Green Infrastructure Seminar held on August 15
Agricultural Program
  • 4,000 acres of cover crops planted
  • 5,000 feet of grassed waterway installed
  • Received new grant from the Great Lakes Commission to continue this work

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MACC Successfully completes GLRI Grant

Since 2016, the MACC has been working with a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to educate farmers on the benefits of agricultural conservation. We have also worked with farmers to implement conservation practices on agricultural land in the watershed. To date, 46 farmers and land owners have participated to implement practices on over 7,000 acres of farmland. The GLRI grant provided cost shares to farmers to apply gypsum, plant cover crops, installed grassed waterways, and transition to a reduced or no-till style of planting. This grant was only possible with matching funds from Project Clarity and will conclude on December 31. MACC staff is working to make final payments and finish reports as the year winds down. The GLRI grant made a great impact in our watershed by enabling us to engage more farmers than ever before. We look forward to building on this success and continuing our work in the agricultural areas of the watershed.

Practices installed with GLRI grant funding. Top row: grassed waterway; water and sediment control basin. Middle row: cover crops in standing soybeans; gypsum being applied to a field. Bottom row: reduce tillage system showing soybean seedlings germinating in the previous year’s corn residue.

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Six Years of Project Clarity

Contributed by Dan Callam, Macatawa Greenway Manager
Project Clarity is an initiative of the Outdoor Discovery Center Network in collaboration with numerous community partners. The goal of Project Clarity is to improve and restore water quality in the Macatawa Watershed. The following are recorded totals associated with water quality projects throughout our watershed since Project Clarity was initiated in 2013.
  • 139 projects
  • over 39,000 pounds of phosphorus removed annually (modeled)
  • 7 major restoration projects created 92 acres of wetland on 290 acres of protected land
  • 41 wetland mitigation credits created, supporting long-term stewardship
  • 201 acre-feet of water storage created
  • Nearly 3 miles of stream restoration and 7,500 feet of two-stage channel created
  • Over 200 acres of land treated for invasive species
  • 128 agriculture best management practice (BMP) projects
  • 65 farms committed to BMPs on over 26,000 acres
  • Producers contributed 31% of agricultural BMP project costs
The map below shows agricultural land use (yellow), agricultural BMPs (bright green) and other restoration projects (dark green solid and hatched). The white area is urban and other non-agricultural land uses.

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