MACD News Blog

Highlighting the Work of Ingham Eaton and Clinton Conservation Districts

Monday, January 14, 2019

Whether you know it or not, if you live in Ingham, Eaton or Clinton County you are benefiting from a vigorous and proactive resource conservation program. Most residents appreciate clean air, clean water, abundant wildlife, productive forests and farmland which increase the quality of life in the area. Pleasant surroundings have a positive effect on bringing people and businesses into the area and raising wages and property values.

Few residents give much thought to who is in charge of planning and implementing conservation programs which keep the Capital area a great place to live. Michigan, like all states, benefits from its 75 locally led Conservation Districts. Tops among those 75 districts are those bordering our state capital.

Identifying the most important issues locally and gathering the necessary data, partners and funding to adequately address them is the forte of the board and staff of the Conservation Districts. Recently, the Ingham Conservation District took its efforts to address water quality issues in the county to the next level by pursuing a grant to keep microplastics out of the surface waters. Microplastics are ubiquitous in our modern world and the total exposure biological system have and the effect it has on them is unquantified. This new grant will make use of novel sensing technology that will improve ecosystem health by providing a cost-efficient mechanism to identify microplastic pollution sources and the impact of behavioral decisions on these pollution sources. Microplastics, including microbeads, fragments and fibers are defined as plastics smaller than 5mm in size. Water pollution due to microplastics is a top emerging concern for ecological and human health. The information obtained will be integrated into a targeted outreach campaign and mitigation initiatives.

Protecting and improving our local water based recreational opportunities is another way that districts serve the area. Clinton District some years ago led the restoration of a local lake. Muskrat Lake, located on state-owned wildlife land, was adversely affected by the loss of about two feet of water depth. The ability of wildlife to make use of the lake as it had was limited since the surface area of the lake was much reduced and the lake was about two feet shallower. Launching a boat was almost impossible since the lake had receded away from the pavement and the danger of getting mired in the mud was significant.

In response to local requests for help, the Clinton Conservation District worked with the state agencies and local partners to obtain the engineering study, funding and materials to install a water control structure which today holds the lake level at the elevation which is historically more correct for the site. This more normal water level and some improvements made by the state as a part of the  project has much improved recreational opportunities in this area just minutes away from Lansing.

Eaton Conservation District has a strong interest in the continued viability of agriculture in the county. One of many innovative programs the district has planned and implemented is aimed at helping farmers to benefit from prescribed grazing technology.  The Growing Green Field Day held recently provided instruction and demonstrations to producers who are interested in better managing their land and livestock. Animals, like cattle, that are most at home on pasture can be managed in such a way that both the land and the animals benefit rather than being kept in buildings and having their feed brought to them and the resulting manure stored and hauled away.

By keeping the animals on pasture, farmers benefit by having less investment in buildings, equipment and labor keeping their operations more profitable. The animals managed in this way can have better health since ruminants, like cattle, are specially adapted to eat grass and benefit from the physical activity derived from gathering their own feed. Local citizens benefit from the protection of the agricultural and green spaces provided by a strong agricultural presence in the area.

Anyone interested in conservation programs administered by local Conservation Districts can find contact information for their district on the web at

Article by Steve Law, MACD Capacity Programs Manager

Tuscola Conservation District's Mike Day Wins High Honor

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Mike Day, Secretary/Treasurer of the Tuscola Conservation District with the 2018 Director of the Year Award on Tuesday, October 30th during the MACD Fall Convention held in Bellaire, MI.
MACD annually presents the Director of the Year Award to recognize the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District director; one who has provided strong leadership, advocacy and promotion of conservation practices within their community. Michigan's Conservation Districts are the local providers of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our state's resources for a cleaner, healthier and economically stronger Michigan.
"Mike Day exemplifies the qualities of an engaged leader," said Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director. "Mike is a very active director and has been influential in developing and promoting natural resource programs and services to the citizens of Tuscola County for many years."

A long standing board member, Mike Day has been a director of the Tuscola Conservation District for 15 years. During his tenure, Mike has been a leader in the development and growth of quality programs to benefit agricultural producers, landowners and managers within the county. He is available 24-7, helping with program implementation and promotion, volunteering at various functions and through his role as Secretary/Treasurer, keeping the financial condition of the District strong. 

The Tuscola 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 Tuscola Conservation District is committed to assisting the residents of Tuscola County with the management of our natural resources in a sustainable way through education and implementation of conservation practices. Learn more about the Tuscola Conservation District by visiting

From left: Elaine Brown, MACD Secretary/Treasurer; Gerald Miller, MACD Vice President; Anne Collins, Tuscola CD Forester; Mike Boike, Tuscola CD Manager; Mike Day, Tuscola CD Secretary/Treasurer; Steve Schaub, Tuscola CD MAEAP Technician; John Bauer Tuscola CD Technician; Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director; Art Pelon, MACD President.

Allegan CD Awarded Great Lake Commission Grant

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Great Lakes Commission recently awarded the Allegan Conservation District $180,000 for the Performance-Based Agricultural Conservation Project in the Gun River Watershed.

This 3-year performance-based agricultural gran encourages implementation of new best management practices to reduce sediment loading into the Gun River Watershed. Producers/landowners will be eligible to receive reimbursement payments for the implementation of new best management practices on their land through this program. Producers and landowners who are eligible and choose to participate will receive $150.00 for every ton of sediment that is kept on their field(s) by implementing these practices. The Allegan Conservation District is utilizing an innovative program to calculate the total payment a program participant is eligible for before any contracts are signed. Producers/landowners can sign-up any time during the program, receiving yearly reimbursements respective of their enrollment and acceptance into the program.  

The Gun River watershed encompasses 73,272 acres of land that drain into the Kalamazoo River and Allegan Lake before flowing to Lake Michigan. This watershed has been significantly altered, primarily due to agricultural development which is the biggest land use in the area (48%). 

This project proposes to enroll 1,500 acres over the three-year project period, which will reduce sediment loading by an estimated 690 tons. 

For further details, contact Allegan Conservation District Executive Director Tori Harris at (269) 673-6940, ext. 5

Cass County Conservation District Shares History of Conservation Partnership at Annual Meeting

Friday, December 15, 2017

On the evening of December 5th, 2017 the Cass Conservation District held its annual meeting. 

A group of 75 community leaders and District supporters were in attendance and enjoyed the great food, reports of program accomplishments and awards ceremony. Steven Law, MACD Consultant, was the keynote speaker and provided a presentation on the rich history of Michigan's Conservation Partnership and the important role Michigan Conservation Districts play in the delivery of conservation and natural resource programs to land owners and managers throughout the state.  

Several individuals were recognized for their volunteer service to the Cass County Conservation District.  Special recognition was given to the following individuals:  Conservationist of the Year (posthumous): Gertrude “Gertie” Temple; Conservation Farmer of the Year: Chris Rosselit; Ag-Tourism: A-Mazing Acres; and Conservation Educator: Nelson’s Herbs.  To learn more about the awardees, please visit the Cass County Conservation District website.

The Cass County Conservation District has been experiencing a period of growth and now includes a successful Michigan Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Program (MAEAP), Invasive Species Control program as part of the SW x SW Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, and the District is the Designated County Enforcing Agency for the County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control permitting program.

MACD wishes to congratulate the Directors and Staff of the Cass Conservation District for the leadership and extra efforts they put forth throughout the year to address the key resource concerns and to serve the residents of Cass County