MACD News Blog

Pigeon Creek and Hayworth Creek Watersheds Targeted for New USDA Water Quality Initiative

Thursday, May 10, 2012

EAST LANSING, May 10, 2012 — Pigeon Creek Watershed in Calhoun County and Hayworth Creek Watershed in Clinton County will be part of the new National Water Quality Initiative.  This USDA initiative targets impaired watersheds, providing conservation funding to farmers to implement practices that will protect and improve the wildlife and fish habitat and water quality.  

Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds will be utilized for this program, with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service providing the financial and technical assistance, in partnership with the Calhoun and Clinton Conservation Districts.  Conservation practices including cover crops, nutrient management, filter strips and conservation tillage will be encouraged within these watersheds where the on-farm investments have the best chance to improve water quality.   

"We are very pleased to have two Michigan watersheds chosen for this program.  The initiative will bolster voluntary conservation efforts by providing farmers with additional tools to install conservation practices to better improve water quality in these watersheds" said Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director.  The Calhoun and Clinton Conservation Districts well understand the significant conservation issues facing these watersheds and will work closely with the USDA-NRCS to bolster voluntary conservation efforts through this program."

Farmers can check with the Calhoun Conservation District or Clinton Conservation District or view the online maps for the Pigeon Creek and Hayworth Creek Watersheds to see if they are located in a selected watershed.  Farmers within the watersheds are encouraged to apply, with applications due by June 16, 2012 in order to be considered.  All applicants will be notified this summer of the results of the competitive selection process, with NRCS developing contracts with applicants approved for funding.  

Michigan Conservation Districts and NRCS have worked in close collaboration since their establishment in the 1930's.  Today, this powerful conservation delivery system works with private landowners to address local conservation needs while addressing state and national interests.  Locally directed, Michigan Conservation Districts partner closely with the NRCS as well as the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality to provide the cost effective delivery of state and federal programs including Federal Farm Bill programs, Michigan Environmental Stewardship Program, Bovine TB Risk Mitigation Project, Critical Dunes Vegetative Removal Assurances, Hunter Access Program, Michigan Pheasants Restoration Initiative, and several Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects. 

For more information on Michigan Conservation Districts and their conservation activities and partnerships, please visit  Visit the Michigan NRCS website at

MACD Summer Conference Registration is Open

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The MACD Summer Conference awaits you!  

This year, the event will be held at Treetops Resort in Gaylord on June 20 and 21st.  The Summer Conference provides targeted training specifically geared toward Conservation Districts and the opportunity to network with District board and staff members from all over the state, all in the beautiful and relaxing environment of Treetops Resort!  

Learn more and register by visiting the MACD Summer Conference 2012 web pages today!

Every Day is Earth Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Officially, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22.  This international holiday has grown from a small fledgling holiday 42 years ago, to an event celebrated in over 192 countries today! 

For me, the Earth Day celebration lasts much longer than one day, I consider April to be "Earth Month".   With spring weather settling in here in Michigan, flowers are blooming, farmers are preparing for spring planting, Conservation Districts are holding spring tree sales, outdoor education programs are gearing up including the Michigan Envirothon program.  Add to this Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations held throughout the last two weeks of April and you have one busy, outdoorsy month.  

I would like to propose that as individuals, we take the idea of Earth Day to the next level, by making every day an Earth Day.  Can you just imagine what would happen if everyone did one little thing each and every day for our earth, our natural resources?  Just consider the possibilities!






Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuesday, March 20 is first day of spring!  With the weather we are having in southern Michigan, spring has a significant jump start, with the daffodils blooming and the wetlands a chorus of song from Michigan's frogs and toads and many species of birds.   I encourage you to take a moment this week to visit a wetland near you to listen and see if you can name the species that are singing the songs of spring.  

An easy way to get started is to learn to identify Michigan's frogs and toads.  With only 13 native species of frogs and toads, they are easy to learn.  In early spring, only a few are calling and in my local wetland I have been able to identify four species at the time of this writing.

There are many resources available to help you learn the about our native frogs and toads and their songs.  The Michigan DNR web site (LINK) has detailed information on Michigan's frogs and toads and you can hear recordings of their songs by visiting the MSU Remote Environmental Assessment Laboratory web site (LINK).  For those die hard frog and toad enthusiasts the DNR Frog and Toad Survey provides a fun spring and early summer project.  Participants document frog and toad abundance and distribution, helping the state to monitor populations over the long term. To learn more about this program, visit the Michigan DNR Frog and Toad Survey page, (LINK)

Your local Conservation District is also a resource for printed materials and identification guides.  Many Districts have available for sale identification books and audio CDs with pictures, descriptions and quality recordings of Michigan's native frogs and toads so you can take your guides with you as you visit your local wetlands.

Have fun and happy listening!