Restoration of Riparian Areas in the Muskegon River Watershed

Locations: Missaukee County, Muskegon County, Newaygo County, Osceola County, Roscommon County

Project Status: Completed

Duration: 2012 – 2015

Funded by: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Wege Foundation, Great Lakes Fishery Trust

Partners: Muskegon Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance, Grand Valley State University-Annis Water Resources Institute, Huron Pines, and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan

Project Goals:

  • Reforestation of 440 acres of riparian land (land that borders rivers/streams)
  • Restore 28,050 lineal feet (15 acres) of streambank using native vegetation
  • 150 acres of revegetated or natural riparian land placed into conservation easements (voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and land trust/government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values)
  • Development of 14 forest stewardship plans with private forest landowners (forest stewardship is the active management of forests to maintain healthy and production conditions)
  • Best Management Practices for proper erosion control will be implemented at four riparian high priority sub-watershed sites

Expected Results:

  • Reduce annual pollutant loads by over 100 tons of sediment, 1,000 pounds of phosphorus and 6,000 pounds of nitrogen which will benefit the upper, middle, and lower Muskegon River, Muskegon Lake (an Area of Concern) and Lake Michigan.

The expected results were calculated using the Environmental Protection Agency’s “spreadsheet Tool for Estimating Pollutant Load” (STEPL) and the Department of Environmental Quality’s “MI Pollutants Controlled Spreadsheet 2010.”