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MACC Awarded $665,000 USEPA Grant to Help Farmers Install Best Management Practices | Environment

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MACC Awarded $665,000 USEPA Grant to Help Farmers Install Best Management Practices
Environment, News
MACC Awarded $665,000 USEPA Grant to Help Farmers Install Best Management Practices

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council has been awarded a $665,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Approximately $40 million was offered under this program (contingent on the availability of appropriations) to improve water quality in the Great Lakes.  The MACC submitted a grant proposal in April 2011 with the goal of implementing agricultural best management practices in critical areas of the watershed (mostly in Fillmore and Overisel Twps). Implementing these practices is anticipated to prevent 13,000 tons of sediment, 8 tons of phosphorus and 19 tons of nitrogen from entering waterways annually.  

Mary Fales, Watershed Project Coordinator, was excited to make the announcement to the MACC Policy Board today and said that “not only is this one of the largest monetary grants the Macatawa Watershed Project has ever received, it also has the largest projected water quality improvements”.  Fales was especially appreciative of the widespread support the project has received from area farmers, local and state agencies, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Farm Bureau, state representatives and senators, and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga.

Eligible participants include those who farm land in the Kleinheksel Drain watershed and/or the East Fillmore Drain watershed (maps below). These subwatersheds have been identified as priority areas because of historical monitoring results, hydrologic modeling and an in-depth inventory that was completed in 2010.

Farmers who are interested in participating in the program will be qualified for $400,000 of cost-share funding for a variety of practices including:

  • implementing cover crops, no-till, grassed waterways, and/or buffer strips, or
  • becoming verified in the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.

The three year grant will also provide support for the Macatawa Watershed Project Coordinator position and as well as a technical assistant housed at the Allegan Conservation District for the duration of the grant.

Any farmer that owns, rents or farms land in the target areas and is interested in learning more about this opportunity, should contact Mary Fales, Watershed Coordinator, at mfales@the-macc.org or 616-395-2688. Work on this project will begin in September.

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