State Environmental Officials Share Methods For Cleaning Up Kazoo River
Besides dredging and channelization, measures to stop sedimentation and pollution before it begins at the “non-point source” is also essential in controlling the problems that occur downstream in the Kalamazoo River.
That was the message shared with officials from the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck during a recent consultation meeting with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the engineering firm Edgewater Resources, LLC at the state capitol in Lansing.
“If you want reduce sedimentation you are going to have to stop it from going into the river system in the first place,” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier told The Local Observer Tuesday afternoon.
There are incentive-based methods such as best-use farming practices meant to minimize fertilizer application and soil erosion in the watershed, Harrier said, explaining one example of how to tackle the non-point source of sedimentation of the local waterway.
“(The management and the reduction of non-point source sediment and pollutants) will have to involve partnerships and cooperation with the state and county,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere also told the newspaper Tuesday.
“It’s a matter of collectively influencing and framing the discussion, including agricultural practices,” added LeFevere.
The meeting with the regulatory agencies was initiated by Saugatuck officials as the first step of their long-term plan to address sedimentation and low-level contaminants in the Kalamazoo Harbor.
“It was a good initial discussion, with a lot of familiar faces. We didn’t reach a conclusion; we have more meetings to come, including visits to our harbor,” said LeFevere.
The two cities each contributed $37,500 to hire Edgewater to complete the plan, although the cities are taking a different approach on the matter.
Saugatuck identified for the engineer five very specific steps to be completed in chronological order and payments to released to the firm incrementally after each step is completed.
While Saugatuck officials deemed the meeting with regulatory agencies as an essential first step as a way to determine what options would have the best chance of being permitted in adherence to state and federal regulations, their Douglas counterparts deemed it as a step that ought to have occurred at the end of the process.
Douglas’ long-term harbor plan has been folded into its larger Master Plan that Edgewater is also working on for that city.
While the cities started out with very similar proposed agreements with Edgewater which are now different in some respect, officials from both municipalities say the objective remains the same: cleanup, improvement and sedimentation reduction of the local harbor.