Ottawa County Awarded $600,000 for Water Quality Improvements

The Ottawa County Water Resource Commissioner’s Office has been awarded $600,000 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Grants Program. The funding will reduce Nonpoint source pollution within the upper Sand Creek watershed, located in Wright and Chester Townships in northeast Ottawa County. Sand Creek flows into the lower Grand River and ultimately Lake Michigan.

Nonpoint source pollution is caused when rain, snowmelt or wind carry pollutants off the land and into lakes, streams, wetlands, and other water bodies. Officials will reduce this polluted sediment reaching the Sand Creek by stabilizing the unnaturally eroding stream banks, restoring the filtering wetlands and promoting the farm bill pollution prevention practices. The improvements along the creek will reduce sediment by an estimated 1,250 tons per year, improving water quality throughout the watershed.

The Sand Creek has been identified among the top ten priority Grand River sub‐watersheds for restoration.  The creek is a coldwater and designated trout stream.  Unfortunately, the coldwater fishery is no longer supported due to excessive sedimentation, siltation, nutrients, temperature and flow regime alterations. 

Ottawa County Water Resources Commissioner, Joe Bush, oversaw the Upper Sand Creek Restoration Assessment Study conducted in 2014-2015 by GEI Consultants. The assessment was funded by a $260,919 grant from the MDEQ. The study laid the groundwork for the work that will be completed with the assessment, planning, and design of best practices to improve the health of Sand Creek.

The grant is funded under the federal Clean Water Act – Section 319 and the Clean Michigan Initiative – Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Grants Program.