Watershed Planning Projects

In September 2001, The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay received a watershed management planning grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to develop a protection plan for the Grand Traverse Bay watershed. The plan was completed in December 2003 and approved by the DEQ under the Clean Michigan Initiative bond criteria. The plan was then updated in 2005 to meet new EPA criteria for the Section 319 funding program.

Initial Planning Project: December 2001 – 2003

In December 2003, the Watershed Center completed a Protection Plan for the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed area. The 2003 version of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan provided a description of the watershed (including such topics as bodies of water, population, land use, municipalities, and recreational activities), summarized each of the nine subwatersheds to Grand Traverse Bay, and outlined current water quality conditions in the bay. Within the two-year development phase of the protection plan, water quality threats were identified and efforts to address these issues were researched, developed, and prioritized.

This project was made possible through a watershed management planning grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Nonpoint Source Program. The grant and awarded funds were authorized by Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act.

The goal of the initial Watershed Planning Project was to conduct a basin-wide comprehensive planning process to develop, update, and prioritize recommendations for restoring and/or protecting designated and desired uses of the Grand Traverse Bay and its watershed. In addition to developing a watershed protection plan, other major project tasks included: hosting stakeholder meetings and conducting telephone surveys in order to identify both citizens’ and businesses’ water quality and watershed concerns, implementing a public outreach campaign, completing a shoreline inventory of Grand Traverse Bay, and identifying ecologically significant shoreline parcels for water quality protection on Grand Traverse Bay and selected tributaries.

The Watershed Center worked with a wide variety of partners including nonprofit organizations, governmental units, educational institutions, land conservancies, lake associations, and private citizens as part of this project.

Plan Update Project: July 2004 – December 2005

In July 2004, The Watershed Center was awarded a grant to continue its work on the recently completed Protection Plan in order to meet new EPA guidelines for watershed management plans. These new guidelines required additional information on pollutant sources and concentrations, load reduction estimates of various BMPs, measurable milestones to guide implementation progress, and a set of criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation efforts. The update was necessary for the plan to be eligible for Federal funding.

During the course of this project, additional tasks included in the original protection plan’s recommendations were completed. This included assessing the need and developing a structure for a regional stormwater task force and initiating several outreach and education projects such as storm drain stenciling in Traverse City neighborhoods, updating displays, and developing educational publications.

Work on updating the Protection Plan was completed in December 2005 and the plan is now approved by the DEQ under the Clean Michigan Initiative bond criteria and meets all EPA criteria for the Section 319 funding program.

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