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Spring 2021 Newsletter

Helping all land users wisely manage the natural resources of Allegan County

Welcoming New Employees

Pictured: Jenna Rasmusson (Left) and Bonne Matheson (Right)

Help us welcome some new faces at the Allegan Conservation District! In January, we were able to hire two Soil Conservation Technicians. As Soil Conservation Technicians, they are assisting with planning for, funding, and implementing conservation practices agricultural land, as well as working on some education and outreach for our district. You can read more about Jenna and Bonne on our website's staff page.

Brian Talsma, Executive Director

In March, our previously watershed Technician, Brian Talsma, was promoted to Allegan Conservation District's Executive Director. Brian has been with the District since 2018 and been a grant application wizard - securing us multiple funding opportunities and exciting conservation projects. Brian hopes to continue this effort in his new leadership role as well as making our District the destination for conservation expertise.

Thank you, Laura!

Also in March, Laura Smith resigned from her position as our District Manager. we are so thankful for everything she has done for our district and her expertise in accounting and organization. Laura was invaluable when we needed to adjust to our new virtual world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In her new position, Laura will be able to grow in her passion of cooking as a head chef for a local B&B. We will miss her can-do work ethic, contagiously great attitude, and of course her baking!

Over 500 acres of Newly Implemented Conservation Practices in Allegan County

As part of our Kalamazoo River Watershed Phosphorus Reduction Auction project with the Delta Institute and Michigan Farm Bureau, we have enrolled over 500 acres of conservation practices on cropland in our county. The project aims to reduce phosphorus runoff in priority areas of the Kalamazoo Watershed through a pay-for-performance program, meaning that farmers will be paid per pound of phosphorus runoff reduced when they implement no-till and/or cover crops. These practices have been shown to reduce soil erosion, and consequently keep rivers, lakes, and streams free from excess nutrients. Using advanced modeling tools, we can estimate the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen runoff on agricultural land and how much that can be reduced through conservation efforts. This is a multi-year project and we will be hosting a second auction this summer for farmers to enroll in the program, so stay tuned on our Facebook page for more details on how to participate. You can also read more about this project here.

Keeping Our Lakeshore Clean

On April 13th, volunteers bundled up, braving the brisk wind to join the effort in cleaning up the lakeshore at Oval Beach in Saugatuck. Thanks to a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency awarded to the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, the Lakeshore Cleanup Coalition was formed to support beach and river cleanups in Ottawa and Allegan Counties. This partnership includes Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, the Ottawa Conservation District, Hope College, the ODC Network, the Allegan Conservation District and the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council. Partners will hold volunteer beach and river cleanups throughout Ottawa and Allegan County over the next couple years. At our most recent cleanup, volunteers picked up over 140 pounds of trash. The majority of the trash collected was made of plastics including beverage containers, straws, and tiny fragments. Often times, the trash we find on the beach did not originate there, but came from upstream. Small habits in our daily lives, even if we live miles from the lakeshore, can reduce the amount of litter we find in the environment. Next time you go for a walk around your farm or neighborhood, bring a bag or bucket with you - you'll be surprised how much you find! Or, next time you go shopping, try to buy products with less packaging or consider buying reusable products. There is a lot to learn about how our waste impacts the environment. More research is being done in the Great Lakes to investigate the impact that litter has on aquatic life, check out this article by Bridge Michigan on microplastics. We'd love to have you join us for future cleanup events or other volunteer events - sign up for our mailing list to be notified of volunteer opportunities.

--------------------------------- UPCOMING EVENTS ---------------------------------

  • Board Meetings are the third Tuesday of every month @ 5pm

    • Our meetings will no longer be held virtually. Last year, the DHHS Emergency Order and PA 254 of 2020 permitted public bodies to meet electronically by telephone or videoconferencing through March 31, 2021. Starting April 1st, 2021, and continuing through 2021, public bodies may conduct electronic meetings only if a member of the public body is absent due to military duty, a health condition, or a statewide or local state of emergency/state of disaster.

    • NEXT MEETING - May 18th, 2021, Jaycee Park, 200 Monroe St, Allegan, MI 49010

  • Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest at Allegan Conservation District!

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