Kalamazoo River Greenway Supporters Seek Environmental Agenda Inclusion In Its Master Plan
Boat launch improvements, erosion and sediment mitigation, the creation of water trails, erection of signage and preservation of certain land are some possible items that could be incorporated into a proposed master plan for the Kalamazoo River Greenway, says Travis Williams, Executive Director of the Outdoor Discovery Center.
The master plan comprises the lower Kalamazoo River, from the City of Plainwell downriver to the mouth of the river in the Saugatuck area. Its ultimate goal is to create a blueprint for a greenway corridor, which, if implemented, would enhance the recreational, ecological and educational assets of the communities involved.
The Kalamazoo River Greenway was made possible thanks to a $148,0000 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant awarded to the Holland-based Outdoor Discovery Center, a non-profit outdoor education organization.
“If you can show that you are part of a broader community, you get good points,” Williams recently told The Local Observer about the importance of having regional collaboration and how that enhances opportunities for grants from the State of Michigan.
“For us to build this plan, we need to connect with groups, cities and community members, ask the community for their input about what assets exist and what possible opportunities there might be out there,” said Williams.
The Outdoor Discovery Center is hosting its first of several local meetings being planned for the public to provide input at Saugatuck Brewing Co., 2948 Blue Star Highway, Douglas, MI on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.
“We want to be inclusive enough to have everybody’s needs and wants be reflected in the plan, not that everybody’s wishes will be realized, but our goal is to listen and identify priorities.
“In the end, we want a unified vision that we would hope everybody embraces,” said Williams.
The organization hopes to build upon its success; it has been the leading non-profit partner in the Macatawa Greenway along the Macatawa River in Ottawa County since 1994.
“It this time, there has been 19 miles of preserved river corridor, over $15 million of public and private investment, 1,387 protected acres, and 20 miles of pedestrian trails.
In addition, the ODCMG (Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway) has been the lead agency in Project Clarity, an initiative in the Macatawa Watershed to reduce phosphorus and sediment issues (securing more than $10 million in private funding for such projects),” states an Outdoor Discovery Center memo.
Similarly, the Kalamazoo River Greenway will aggregate current and past contaminated sediment data and catalog levels throughout the proposed Greenway corridors for future studies and review.