Next to the Michigan Audubon Society's Baker Sanctuary is the 476-acre Big Acre Marsh Farm. It's part of the Ackley Creek subwatershed and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in 2016 received a $530,000 matching grant to conserve the property.
Now it has received a two-year $212,000 matching grant intended to protect water quality by conserving land in the Battle Creek watershed and build on the previous protections. The grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will let the Land Conservancy purchase 200 acres of property, especially an expansive wetland along the Wanadoga Creek in southeast Barry County.
These are considered the highest priority for conservation in the Battle Creek River watershed. (A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that falls in it, and drains off of it, goes to a common outlet.)
The Battle Creek watershed is 307 square miles and consists of mainly agricultural land although the headwaters area has large tracts of undeveloped forests and wetlands. This wilderness headwaters area includes Ackley Creek, Big Marsh Lake, Wanadoga Creek, Waubascon Creek, and Clear Lake, which all flow downstream into the Battle Creek River.
“This second MDEQ grant will allow us to work in the Wanadoga Creek subwatershed, an area where SWMLC has already had great success in conserving land,” says Emily Wilke, SWMLC’s Conservation Project Manager. “Protecting land in its natural state is the best way to protect the health of nearby lakes and streams, and we hope these two projects will promote additional conservation of land in the Battle Creek watershed.”
Both the Ackley Creek and Wanadoga Creek subwatersheds were identified as priority areas for conservation through a collaborative project in 2015 with SWMLC, the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, and the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources. The project identified the parcels that are most important to protect to maintain the best possible water quality within the larger 2,020 square-mile watershed, showing large clusters of high priority parcels in the headwaters area of the Battle Creek River Watershed.
This 2017 grant is awarded by MDEQ to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution. These grants help to restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients, and other contaminants. Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up both natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually runs into waterways as pollution.
Source: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy