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Gun River Watershed Management Plan

Project Description

The Allegan Conservation District is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to update the Gun River Watershed Management Plan. Since the plan was written in 2005, a variety of projects have worked to carry out its recommendations. The funding provided by EGLE will allow the Conservation District to assess the progress made towards watershed goals, find where recommendations may need to be adjusted, and identify new concerns.

The bulk of the work for this project will consist of on the ground surveys. Point sources of pollution will be identified from waterway surveys. These sources might include sites of erosion, man-made debris, inadequate road-stream crossings, and others. Additionally, an agricultural inventory will be conducted to assess what strategies could be used to address contaminated runoff from farm fields, a major nonpoint source of pollution. These surveys will serve to identify likely sources of E.coli, phosphorus, and sediment which are the pollutants of highest concern in the watershed.

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Gun River Watershed Boundaries

Purpose and Background

The Gun River Watershed encompasses an area of 73,272 acres in Allegan and Barry Counties, Michigan. The Gun River flows from Gun Lake through agricultural land into the urbanizing area of Otsego Township, Allegan County, where it joins the Kalamazoo River. The purpose of this project is to update the Gun River Watershed Management Plan (GRWMP) by surveying the watershed to identify environmental concerns. The updated GRWMP will reflect the current needs of the watershed and make vital information available for the planning of future projects. 


We know that The Gun River and its tributaries are impaired by non-point source (NPS) pollution. Sediment and phosphorus are concerns because the Gun River is upstream of Lake Allegan, which has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus that has not been met since it was listed in 1996. Phosphorus adsorbs (or attaches) to soil particles which may be deposited downstream as a result of erosion and sedimentation. Pathogens and hydrocarbons were also identified in the 2005 GRWMP as a concern, and will therefore be examined in this project. Since the predominant land use in this watershed is agriculture, agricultural inventory work will be a priority. Other impairment causes that will be assessed include road-stream crossings, impervious surfaces, rill and gully erosion, stream bank erosion, livestock access, tile and drain outlets, and construction sites.


Since writing the GRWMP, two implementation grants have been awarded to Allegan Conservation District (ACD) under section 319 funding through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Grant 2005-0105 supported the implementation of buffer strips, stream revetments, comprehensive nutrient management plans, cover crops, no till farming, conservation ordinances, and conservation plans. Grant 2008-0025 supported the implementation of buffer strips, bioswales, soft seawalls, wetland restoration, and river cleanup events. Additionally, a current grant from the Great Lakes Commission is funding implementation of cover crops, conservation tillage, and buffer strip implementation in the Gun River’s Fenner Creek Subwatershed through the end of 2021.

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