The Final Word – Spring Newsletter 2016

From the Office of the Director


As the director for the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, you may think my position would be one of blindly saving the water. Obviously, water is vitally important. So are people. Let me share a few things I am in favor of: I am for feeding people; I am for employing people; I am for preserving our water and I am for wise use of funds.

In the course of my daily work, I see the amount of money invested to preserve the Great Lakes. Not just in our area, but across the region. In total, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has expended an average of $414,000,000 each year for four years to clean up land, and restore habitats that improves the water quality of our Great Lakes. This has been an extraordinary success and one that needs to continue to ensure we have clean water for the future. Watershed organizations like ours have been beneficiaries of these funds. In our case, the Muskegon River represents a pipeline of water to Lake Michigan carrying all the pollutants that our 2700 square miles of land delivers. Simply put, a cleaner river results in a cleaner lake

The phosphorous from fertilizers (think residential lawns and commercial farming operations) enters the river carried by heavy rains and snowmelt. We currently have G L R I funding of over $400,000 to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the Tamarack Creek and the Muskegon River. We use these funds to help farmers install cover crops, filter strips and grassed waterways. Additionally, we educate homeowners to reduce or eliminate fertilizers and to encourage waterfront owners to plant living filters to capture phosphorous before it enters the lake.

With these funds going to preserve our clean water, we cannot condone any commercial operation that adds phosphorous to the watershed. It’s just bad business.

It is my sincere hope that becoming familiar with this issue will help you come to a wise conclusion on the use of our precious water and financial resources.