Local Governments

Local governments in the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council’s area understand the value and heritage behind clean waterways and good water quality.  Many cities have grown up along the Kalamazoo River as mill towns and commercial centers.  The river was a vital part of early development, making it possible for industries from cereal production to paper recycling to automobile parts to flourish.

Since the landmark passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 the Kalamazoo River has been gradually improving from its legacy of industrial pollution, and local governments have been active stakeholders in this progress.

Local government plays an especially important part in good watershed management, especially when it comes to governance of land use, development, infrastructure, and public works.  There are several tools and resources adapted specifically to the Kalamazoo River watershed that local governments can use to assist with water management in their communities.

Model Ordinances

Stormwater Ordinance (pdf)
Performance standards for post-construction stormwater that require on-site storage and treatment can help communities with capacity issues in existing storm sewer systems, lower future infrastructure maintenance costs, and protect important waterways.

Contact KRWC for examples from Kalamazoo River communities—a total of 11 which have adopted a wide range of stormwater policy measures.

Wetland Protection Ordinance (pdf)
Ordinances can help communities protect important wetland resources by creating overlays and setbacks, among other options.  Wetland often protect important water features and assets in our communities.  And sometimes we realize this after it’s too late—the wetland has been filled and the water level in the nearby lake starts dropping to very low levels.

Riparian Buffer Ordinance (pdf)
When properly designed, a riparian buffer can help communities with stormwater management and provide a right-of-way during floods.  Communities can encourage three important buffer types: water pollution hazard setbacks, vegetated buffers, and engineered buffers.

Tools and Plans

Green Infrastructure Calculator (excel)
A Kalamazoo River-based tool developed for KRWC by Kieser & Associates, a local science and engineering firm, this tool helps communities and partners determine the pollutant reductions and other factors when implementing green infrastructure.  Use it to look up your township or municipality.

Wetland Functional Tool
This tool was developed for the entire Kalamazoo River watershed and gives us insight into the different environmental services specific wetlands provide to our communities.  The tool provides extensive information on historic wetlands that have been lost to filling and dredging and the services and functions they would perform (e.g., flood storage, streambank protection, sediment retention).

Contact KRWC for specific data from each township and municipality.

Kalamazoo River Land Conservation Plan (pdf)
The plan priorities land protection in eight regions throughout the watershed.  This information can be useful in the master planning process, updating zoning ordinances, and site plan review.  For local governments located outside of the eight priority areas, there are many individual high priority parcels in all jurisdictions.  Contact the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy to obtain information for your township or local municipality.

Public Education and Opportunities

Join us as a partner on public outreach events!   We partner with many local governments who help us advertise events in their communities, host trainings and educational events, and promote recreation and river stewardship with the help of local partners.

  • Kanoe the Kazoo – an annual series of paddle trips along rivers and lakes throughout the watershed
  • Krazy for the Kazoo – an annual volunteer river cleanup and conservation day
  • Community Rain Barrel Sale – a community based sale to help residents source and install rain barrels on their properties
  • Festivals – we participate in several festivals, fairs, and other outreach events

Explore the various ways to support the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council today!