Water quality has been popping up on the news a lot lately and it may have you wondering what is being done to protect your water locally. The Barry and Eaton Conservation Districts were awarded a grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to fund Thornapple River Watershed Management Plan implementation starting back in 2017. We are now nearing the end of the grant, which will be wrapping up in November. This grant provides the funding for the Conservation Districts to be able to assist farmers and landowners in implementing agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and proper septic system maintenance to improve the water quality in our community. Given the predominately rural nature of the two counties, the main focuses of the grant are agriculture and on-site waste water treatment (septic systems). On the land management side, we have money available to help farmers and landowners implement practices such as grassed waterways, filter strips, cattle fencing along streams and planting of cover crops just to name a few. Alternatively, at the home owner level, we are offering funding to cover the costs of voluntary septic system inspections to look for failing septic systems as well as a cost share option to replace or repair any problem septic systems to help ease the financial burden of such a task. The funding for both aspects of the project could cover up to 100% of the costs of repairs and replacements. The project scope covers over 57,000 acres in three of the most impaired sub-watersheds in the Thornapple River watershed: Mud Creek, Fish Creek, and Milbourn Drain. The main goal of this project is to reduce pollutants within the watershed such as nutrients, sediment and E. coli. By accomplishing these goals, we will be contributing to better water health not only locally but downstream as well. This eventually leads to positive impacts all the way up to the Great Lakes level. With voluntary community support, we hope to work together with farmers and landowners to ensure clean water for many generations to come. If you live in one of these sub-watersheds, please feel free to contact David Comeau at 269-908-4099 to discuss ways in which we can work together to improve water quality in our community. See maps below to see if you live in one of the eligible subwatersheds.
We are so excited to celebrate Conservation District Day on Friday, July 17 with the recognition proclaimed by Governor Whitmer. Click below to view the official proclamation!