The Allegan Conservation District partners with various private, local, state, and federal organizations to fund and support conservation projects in our area. Click on the titles below to learn more about active projects and how you can get involved.
The Allegan Conservation District partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to turn mature aspen and tag alder stands into young forests. This restoration effort took place in the Allegan State Game Area and consisted of 14 sites covering approximately 90 acres.
Young aspen and tag alder forests are a valuable source of food and habitat in the spring time for many species, but they quickly mature into other forest types. Naturally, these forests would experience fires or wind throw, which would force new aspen stands to grow. However, through years of fire suppression natural forest regeneration hasn’t been able to happen. This project focused on mimicking those disturbances to encourage new aspen and tag alder growth.
Green Lake Watershed Assessment
Green Lake in Allegan County currently supports a strong cisco population and is one of a small number of healthy cisco lakes remaining in Michigan. However, nutrient runoff from agricultural land (52% of the watershed) and urban land (42% of the shoreline) is a concern. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has identified Green Lake as a conservation priority because of its high water quality, the presence of cisco, and vulnerability to human disturbances. This project aims to assess the health of the lake and its catchment area, invest community members in water quality monitoring, create nutrient budget for the lake, and create a lake management plan. After this assessment, best management practices (BMPs) can be implemented to maintain a healthy cisco habitat, Green Lake’s aesthetic values, and recreational opportunities.
Gun River Watershed Planning
The Allegan Conservation District is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to update the Gun River Watershed Management Plan. Since the plan was written in 2005, a variety of projects have worked to carry out its recommendations. The funding provided by EGLE will allow the Conservation District to assess the progress made towards watershed goals, find where recommendations may need to be adjusted, and identify new concerns.
The bulk of the work for this project will consist of on the ground surveys. Point sources of pollution will be identified from waterway surveys. These sources might include sites of erosion, man-made debris, inadequate road-stream crossings, and others. Additionally, an agricultural inventory will be conducted to assess what strategies could be used to address contaminated runoff from farm fields, a major nonpoint source of pollution. These surveys will serve to identify likely sources of E.coli, phosphorus, and sediment which are the pollutants of highest concern in the watershed.
Gun River Sediment Reduction
Did you know Allegan County has over 35 rivers and streams as well as 16 lakes? That’s why we have multiple projects where we try to improve water quality and prevent water pollution. One of these projects is our Gun River Sediment Reduction Project!
We have partnered with Great Lakes Commission to fund* agricultural conservation practices that reduce the transportation of sediment and nutrients to the waterways of the Gun River watershed. These practices include cover crops, no till, reduced tillage, and filter strips.
*Enrollment for this program has ended.
The Allegan Conservation District has partnered with the Delta Institute and the Michigan Farm Bureau to help fund the implementation of conservation practices that reduce phosphorus runoff in the Kalamazoo River Watershed and Lake Allegan.
The funded practices in this program include cover crops, no till, and reduced till. An exciting part of this project is that it has a reverse auction, meaning that farmers can tell us how much they’d like to be paid for their conservation efforts in this program! Once farmers submit their bids, the bids that have the potential to reduce the most amount of phosphorus will be funded.
Partnership with Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Allegan Conservation District (ACD) partners with many different private, state, and federal organizations to tackle common conservation goals. Subcontracting under the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council (MACC), ACD will provide technical assistance to two of MACC’s projects. The first project, funded under the Great Lakes Commission, operates in the agriculture sector, implementing cover crops and grassed waterways on agricultural land. The second project, funded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is two tiered, working to implement green infrastructure in Ottawa County, and to support volunteer beach and river clean ups. Allegan Conservation District will help facilitate the beach and river clean up initiative.
Learn more about our river and beach cleanup project background and events here!
Regional Partnership Conservation Program with Barry County
Allegan Conservation District is teaming up with Barry Conservation District! Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, we will be working with local farmers, landowners, and corporations to assist in implementing conservation practices in the Gun, Rabbit, and Thornapple River Watersheds. The conservation practices implemented through this project will serve to benefit local water quality and habitat for fish, wildlife, and invertebrates. This is a cost-share program, allowing participating partners to receive financial assistance for implementing conservation practices on their land.
Contact the Allegan Conservation District’s Watershed Technician today for more information and how you can participate.