EGLE awards watershed management planning grant to PCCI
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has awarded a $110,973 grant to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, south of Hastings, for the development of a new watershed management plan for Cedar Creek.
The creek is a sub-watershed of the Thornapple River that has been impacted by elevated E. coli concentrations and excess nutrients, erosion and sedimentation. The Pierce Cedar Creek grant is one of five grants, totaling $431,000, that were announced Monday for projects that will benefit Michigan lakes and streams by developing new or updating existing watershed management plans.
PCCI staff will be collecting data over the next two years to identify impaired waters and compile a plan for reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.
“After creating the plan, we will have a list of very specific areas identified where action is needed to improve water quality,” PCCI spokesperson Sara Syswerda said Wednesday. “We will be able to then seek out additional funding to do restoration work to improve water quality in the Cedar Creek Watershed. We will also have meetings and workshops to help educate landowners about what they can do to manage their property for improved water quality.”
An approved watershed management plan is required to apply for implementation funds offered annually by EGLE's Nonpoint Source Program.
By collecting the information and developing a watershed management plan, PCCI staff will be able to share information with the public about what is happening with water quality in the Cedar Creek Watershed, Syswerda said.
“We will be able to use what we have learned to seek out funds to improve water quality in the watershed and to work with landowners to improve their land-management strategies,” she said. “The overall impact will be improved water quality in Cedar Creek and in particular, we are hoping to reduce E. coli concentrations and nutrient and sediment loads in the watershed.”
The plan is expected to be completed by 2021, she said.
Other recipients of the EGLE grants were:
Ottawa Conservation District: $134,320 to develop a new watershed management plan for the Pigeon River watershed, a coldwater coastal tributary impaired by elevated E. coli levels and affected by flashy flows and excess nutrients.
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council: $88,715 to update watershed plans for the Cheboygan and Lower Black River watersheds, as well as develop a new protection-oriented plan for the Mullet Lake watershed.
Glen Lake Association: $25,025 to update the protection-oriented Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed Management Plan by incorporating new water quality monitoring data as well as collecting new watershed inventory data.
Clinton Conservation District: $71,967 to develop a new watershed management plan for Stony Creek, a sub-watershed of the Maple River and impacted by excess E. coli, sediment and nutrients from urban and agricultural sources.
These grants are funded through the federal Clean Water Act. Grants were offered via a request for proposals.