Mona Lake Watershed Project - Introduction

Black Creek

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County received a $100,000 environmental grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to support a comprehensive, two-year assessment of the Mona Lake Watershed from 2002 to 2004. This watershed faces some of the most serious water quality challenges in west Michigan. Although the Mona Lake Watershed is relatively small in area (~ 200 km2 or 48,000 acres), each of the major water bodies (Mona Lake, Black Creek, Little Black Creek) suffers from severe chemical and biological degradation. Sediments contaminated with elevated levels of heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals have been found in residential and commercial areas of Muskegon Heights. In addition, Mona Lake remains hypereutrophic and is highly impacted by high phosphorus loading and nuisance algal blooms.

The objectives of the Mona Lake Watershed Project were to conduct a preliminary assessment of the aquatic and terrestrial habitats and contamination sites present in the watershed and to identify areas of significant change and degradation. AWRI collected a series of biological and water chemistry samples, and conducted a series of experiments, to further assess the nature of the aquatic habitat and water quality. The samples also assisted in our understanding of the consequences of specific land use stressors on the ecological integrity of the watershed.