The Watershed Council is implementing the Kalamazoo River Watershed Management Plan with support from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and US EPA 319 program.
The KRWC received a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to implement projects recommended in the watershed management plan (WMP). These projects involve stormwater education and policy review for smaller, non-regulated communities in the watershed and pathogen monitoring in the Davis Creek Watershed, a subwatershed to the Kalamazoo River.
Urban stormwater was identified in the WMP as a major source of phosphorus to the Kalamazoo River. Modeling and water quality sampling conducted as part of a Total Maximum Daily Load program for the Lake Allegan Watershed indicate urban stormwater contributes a disproportionate amount of phosphorus to the Lake relative to the land area of urban development. The TMDL Implementation Committee notes that about 50% of the nonpoint source load of phosphorus originates in urban areas, which make up less than 8% of the drainage area but are mostly situated along the main rivers.
To start to address the current and potential future impacts of stormwater, the KRWC is developing and testing a stormwater pollution prevention education program for priority communities in the Lake Allegan Watershed. With assistance from the TMDL Implementation Committee, larger communities that do not have MS4 permits are working with KRWC to evaluate current stormwater policies. The KRWC will provide stormwater information and specific feedback based on their administrative rules to local officials and their planning teams. The main goal of this project is to encourage all watershed communities to understand the linkages between land and water, understand the cost/benefit balance of effective stormwater management, and to take action to further river health and TMDL goals. The KRWC will assist communities by encouraging them to update stormwater management practices based on model ordinances and educational materials.
The second project the KRWC is implementing is an investigation in the Davis Creek Watershed using microbial genetic source tracking methods. The laboratory of Dr. Joan Rose at Michigan State University will be assisting the KRWC with water quality sampling, experimental design, and molecular analysis. The experimental design will incorporate source identification methods that will be useful for assisting or obviating the need for a TMDL (e.g., upstream/downstream sampling of a suspected pet waste source). The KRWC strongly feels that before selecting on-the-ground BMPs, source tracking must be used in order to understand which BMPs may or may not address the problem.