What is a Watershed?
A “watershed” is an area of land, defined by hills and ridges, that drains to a common body of water. Groundwater and surface water are connected within a watershed, and both supply our drinking water, agricultural irrigation, and manufacturing processes. The Lower Grand River watershed offers opportunities for recreation, like fishing and paddling, and provides vital habitat to plants and animals. It is important to protect the quality of our watershed because human activity can create various forms of pollution, including runoff and erosion, which interfere with the health of the watershed.
The Lower Grand River watershed area is very large covering nearly 3,000 square miles of land from just west of Lansing to Lake Michigan, as far north as Montcalm and Newaygo Counties, and as far south as Barry and Eaton Counties. Besides the Grand, other rivers that drain their own smaller watersheds within the LGROW watershed area include the Thornapple, the Flat and the Rogue Rivers as well as scores of other smaller tributaries, creeks and drains, one of which is probably very near your home.
What is a Watershed Management Plan?
LGROW adopts a plan for managing as many aspects of the river as possible within its watershed area. It is called the Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The WMP documents the sources and causes of water pollution and outlines a strategy to address activities which impair water quality with a watershed. The WMP gives an action-orientated approach to address these needs and proposes solutions for effectively managing and restoring all of the intended uses in the watershed. Input from community members and key stakeholders in the LGROW watershed area is considered during the development of a WMP, to provide a reflection of the community’s desires and goals for their Watershed.