A watershed is all of the lands that from which surface water empties into the same main waterbody (for our watersheds, that means a large river) and everything in and on top of that land. Calhoun County is mainly made up of the Nottawa Creek watershed
The Nottawa Creek Watershed covers 178 square miles in south central lower Michigan. The majority of the watershed is in Calhoun county, but also has small sections in Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Branch counties. The Nottawa creek watershed drains into the St. Joseph watershed, which drains into Lake Michigan.
The Calhoun Conservation District (CCD) was awarded a SAW (Stormwater, Asset Management, & Wastewater) grant to update the original management plan from 1998. This update will allow a complete review of the conditions of the creek as well as future project identification.
The CCD is excited about the future projects that will present themselves through this update. The goals for this project are to identify the areas of highest concern and implement practices to improve those situation, along with starting community education programs and volunteer projects.
Within the Nottawa Creek watershed agriculture is the predominant land use. Highly permeable soils and shallow water tables within the watershed increase it’s sensitivity to pollutants.
In general, agriculture can be linked to several water quality issues. Streambank erosion, nutrient and pesticide run-off, and livestock access to waterways are some of our main concerns.
While agriculture raises several concerns, there are ways to work together to improve the relationship between the waterway and the agricultural land. Limiting livestock access to the creek and proper fertilizer and pesticide uses are both very important for watershed health. There are also many programs offered through the National Recourses Conservation Services and the Farm Services Agency that are meant to aid in the conservation of the land and water.
Through increased knowledge and partnerships the health of the watershed can be improved for all uses.