February 2015 Newsletter

A Closer Look #147

AWRI Scientists See Recommendations Implemented

Chris Vandenberg & Jack Gibson


Pictured: GVSU undergraduate student interns, Chris Vandenberg (on the left) and Jack Gibson (on the right), assisting with field inventories during the summer of 2014.

Chris Vandenberg & Jack Gibson

Later this summer, researchers from the AWRI Information Services Center will be completing their part of a $798,000 grant awarded in 2012 to the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Program.  The grant was matched with another $141,201 in support from project partners and local foundations.  Others contributing to the project included the Conservation Resource Alliance, Huron Pines, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, and the Muskegon Conservation District.  This funding was provided to implement best management practices (BMPs) and restore high-priority riparian areas throughout the Muskegon River Watershed. 

AWRI’s role in the project included project evaluation and the development of ten Forest Stewardship Plans for 943 acres of land, 591 acres of which are currently forested.  Other accomplishments include the planting of trees on 430 acres and the creation of 27,625 lineal feet of vegetated buffer.  A total of 44 different landowners participated in the effort.  We are expecting pollutant load reductions of 1,569 lbs/yr nitrogen, 387 lbs/yr phosphorus, and 81 tons/yr sediment.

It is always gratifying when we accomplish a project such as this and see our recommendations put into practice.  This is particularly significant for AWRI and GVSU as we were part of the consortium of scientists from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Purdue University working together from 2000 – 2007, when the impact of climate change on the Muskegon River Watershed was first examined.  It was this earlier work that ultimately convinced the EPA it was important to take action.