MACD News Blog

Patrick Costello Oakland Conservation District Chairman Receives Director of the Year Award

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Patrick Costello, Chairman of the Oakland Conservation District with the 2017 Director of the Year Award on Thursday, November 3rd during the MACD Fall Convention held in Bellaire, MI. 

The Director of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District director; one who has provided strong leadership, advocacy and promotion of conservation practices within the community. "Patrick Costello exemplifies the qualities of an engaged leader," said Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director. "Patrick is a very active director, working diligently to build the District's programs and partnerships to provide quality natural resource programs and services to the citizens of Oakland County."

Mr. Costello has successfully positioned the Oakland Conservation District (OCD) as the local provider of natural resource management services within the community and has led the development of strong partnerships to expand the reach of the District within the community. The OCD now hosts educational events at the Oakland County Farmer's Market and provides assistance to local farmers and residents in the control of Black Swallow Wort, a high priority invasive species targeted by the Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA). Additionally, Patrick has worked diligently with the OCD to fulfill their role as local partner with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service in the delivery of state and federal natural resource programs.

The Oakland Conservation District is a special purpose unit of government, governed by a locally elected five-member board of directors who provide leadership to the District's activities and programs. The Oakland Conservation District promotes conservation, stewardship and sustainable use of the natural resources in Oakland County and the surrounding areas through landowner assistance and education. Learn more about the Oakland Conservation District by visiting

MACD Congratulates New Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

Thursday, April 27, 2017

EAST LANSING, April 27, 2017 – The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts congratulate Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   

MACD is encouraged that Secretary Purdue understands that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land.  As the former governor of Georgia, a state with abundant natural resources and diverse agricultural production, Secretary Perdue understands the issues and concerns we face in Michigan.  He also understands the importance of our forest resources and that we are all land stewards and it is our responsibility to care for the land, leaving it in better shape for the next generation.

“MACD appreciates Secretary Perdue’s understanding of the significance of our working lands and the value of good conservation stewardship.  We look forward to working with him to secure reauthorization of a strong conservation title of the Farm Bill, and throughout his tenure to advance voluntary conservation adoption on working lands,” stated Art Pelon, MACD President.

A key principle for Secretary Perdue is that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land, and that our land resources sustain millions of Americans and millions more people around the globe.  As stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to leave it better than we found it.  MACD looks forward to ensuring that Michigan Conservation Districts will continue to play a pivotal role in providing conservation assistance to land owners and managers.  Assuring that Michigan citizens have clean and clear water, high quality wildlife habitat, farmland and forests for today and tomorrow. 


WLEB Phosphorus Reduction Initiative is currently accepting applications now through January 20.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin have another opportunity to obtain conservation financial assistance. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications until Jan. 20, 2017, for funding through the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative.

The initiative is a partnership between the USDA and public, private and non-profit organizations to protect water quality in the basin that includes portions of Ohio, and Indiana. Financial assistance is available for implementing conservation practices that improve water quality and soil health. The portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin in Michigan includes Lenawee and Monroe counties and portions of Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

USDA conservation financial assistance must be used for implementing designated conservation practices, some of these include; cover crops, nutrient management plans, grassed waterways, drainage water management, amend soil properties with gypsum products, filter and residue management. Applications may be submitted at local NRCS offices. Applications received by Jan. 20, 2017, will be considered for 2017 funding. Farmers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative was selected for funding through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Partner organizations assist in promoting conservation to landowners and monitoring the impact of conservation practices implemented through the initiative.
For more information about conservation financial assistance for Michigan producers available through the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative, CLICK HERE for an informational flyer.  You may also visit the NRCS Michigan website at, and connect with below conservation district involved in the program:

Lenawee Conservation District & 
NRCS Adrian Field Office 
1100 Sutton Road Adrian, MI 49221
Phone: (517) 265-5887

Washtenaw Conservation District & 
NRCS Ann Arbor Field Office 
7203 Jackson Road Ann Arbor, MI 48103
CD Phone: (734)761-6721 NRCS Phone: (734) 205-0537

Jackson Conservation District &
Jackson Field Office
211 W. Ganson Street Jackson, MI 49201
CD Phone (517)395-2082 Phone: (517) 789-7716

Hillsdale Conservation District &
Jonesville Field Office 
588 Olds Street, Bldg. 2 Jonesville, MI 49250  
Phone: (517) 849-9890

Monroe Conservation District &
NRCS Monroe Field Office 
1137 S. Telegraph Road Monroe, MI 48161 
CD Phone: (734) 241-7755
NRCS Phone: (734) 241-8540

The Van Buren Conservation District Receives Grant to Reduce Pollution in Two Watersheds

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PAW PAW — The Van Buren Conservation District has been awarded a three-year $250,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) through the U.S. EPA Federal Clean Water Act. The grant will fund efforts to reduce pollution in Pine and Mill Creeks, which are both tributaries of the Paw Paw River that have been listed as impaired by the MDEQ.

Pine and Mill Creeks join the Paw Paw River in the City of Hartford and the City of Watervliet respectively. Both streams were listed as impaired for partial and total body contact by the MDEQ in 2008 due to high levels of bacteria and pathogens. Likely sources of these pollutants include manure runoff and failing septic systems. The grant will be used to address both sources through outreach, education and financial incentives.

"The Van Buren Conservation District is extremely pleased to be awarded this funding to promote clean water in Pine and Mill Creeks," said Alison Brucks, district director. "We are excited to begin working with farmers and homeowners to address pollutant sources that are impacting these streams and the communities they flow through."

The funds will be used to support educational programs and assist farmers with installing practices like cover crops and no-till that reduce polluted runoff. New technology will be tested that could reduce runoff and improve yields on farms. Scent trained canines will be used to identify areas with septic systems in need of repair or replacement.

The Drain Commissioner’s office will play a role in the project by offering lower drain assessments to farmers and landowners in the area who reduce runoff by using conservation practices. Drain maintenance charges will be largely based on the amount of sediment and runoff individual properties deliver to the drain, which creates a financial incentive for soil and water conservation. According to Joe Parman, the Van Buren County Drain Commissioner “this approach will generate drain assessments that are fair and could reduce drain maintenance costs for everybody in the long run.”

Together, Pine and Mill Creeks drain more than 38 square miles of land that includes parts of Bainbridge and Watervliet Townships in Berrien County and Keeler and Hartford Townships in Van Buren County. The land use in these watersheds is predominantly agricultural with about 60% percent of the land being used for crop and animal production. Water from both streams is used for irrigation and Mill Creek flows through Flaherty Park in the City of Watervliet, where both kids and fishermen enjoy the creek. The ultimate goal of the project is to make the streams cleaner and safer for all the people who use them.

The Two Rivers Coalition will assist the Conservation District with information, education and outreach efforts during the project. Other partners include the Berrien County Health Department, Van Buren/Cass District Health Department, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Van Buren County Farm Bureau, Red Arrow Dairy and the Van Buren County Drain Commissioner. These partners, along with individual landowners, will contribute another $110,000 to this project, culminating in about $360,000 for conservation efforts in the project area over the next three years.

To learn more about the Van Buren Conservation District, visit