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Lower Grand River 319 Project

watershed location

sunset pic

Grand Rapids at night

The Grand River Watershed is the largest watershed with one common river in the State of Michigan. This project defines the watershed as two parts, the "Lower Grand River Watershed" and the "Upper Grand River Watershed". The Lower Grand River Watershed covers ten counties.

A Section 319 Watershed Management Planning Grant was awarded by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to facilitate the development of a watershed management plan for the Lower Grand River Watershed. The grant was awarded to the Grand Valley Metro Council. The Grand Valley Metro Council has contracted with the Annis Water Resources Institute and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. to complete the management plan. Many communities are participating in the development of this plan. Counties, cities, and townships are currently involved by matching funds or in kind services.

Our History, Our Future

In 1889, Everette Fitch wrote the following entry in her journal regarding the Grand River: "The channel was, as usual, covered with a green odiferous scum, mixed with oil from the gas works." Even more than a century ago the Grand River was deteriorating, its banks clogged with mills and factories and its water clogged with logs and dams. In its history the river has been abused with waterpower, river dependant industries, large increases in population, stripping of the forests, and discharges of chemical and sewage wastes. The prediction in 1905 by the Grand Rapids Evening Press was that by the year 2005 the Grand River would be more a sewer than a river.

Today, however, we have the technology and the knowledge to change the future of not only the river, but the watershed as a whole. Many programs have been initiated to study the Grand River Basin and to propose, as well as put into action, numerous plans for its management. Unfortunately, many more are still needed. If the Grand River is to be restored to what the Grand River Times in 1837 called "one of the most important and delightful [rivers] to be found in the country" with "clear, silver-like water winding its way through a romantic valley" it is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.

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