Explore

News & Events

Water Quality Monitoring Information
Wetland mitigation credits are now available.  For more information, please visit or mitigation webpage here.

Events

Water Festival_no year-01-012017 Macatawa Water Festival

Save the Date – July 15, 2016

Water Festival Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2016 Water Festival!  We hope to see you again next year!


 

 


Press Releases

 

Media Coverage


The Project Clarity Plan

Comprehensive Restoration Plan (PDF)

Informational Videos

Clarity Documentary (full-length)

Campaign Updates


 

Agricultural Information

If you are a farmer and interested in working with Project Clarity to put in a practice or project on your farm, we would love to work with you!   Download the application and information below.  Partial or full funding for these projects is available.  All projects will be reviewed by the Project Clarity Agricultural Committee.  For more information or questions on the application process, please contact Dan Callam at the Outdoor Discovery Center.

Application

Not sure if you are in the Macatawa Watershed?  See map below.

Watershed Boundary Maps Ottawa + Allegan

Educational Information

Information on Clean Boating Practices for Water Quality is available at the following websites:

Michigan Sea Grant

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

news-and-events-1

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Project Clarity?

Project Clarity is a community-wide partnership committed to improving the health and clarity of Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa Watershed by slowing water down and reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients that currently pollute them. The goal of the project is to substantially reduce the sediments and nutrients by at least 70%. This is a legacy project which will have a lasting, profound impact on the economy, environment, and community as a whole.

How will this goal be attained?

Based on the outcome of a privately funded, 18 month research study guided by Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, and Hope College, a three-part approach was determined to be the best way to attain the desired result of high water quality based on the financial investment required. The three-parts are: (I) Wetland Restoration and Engineered Water Quality solutions, (2) Water Quality Best Management Practices implementation in urban and agricultural areas, (3) Community Information and Education about the issues impacting water quality within the 175-square mile Macatawa Watershed.

Why do we need Project Clarity?

We need Project Clarity because there is too much sediment in our great resource, Lake Macatawa. The European settlers of our community began de-foresting the area and draining natural wetlands to build their settlement resulting in a loss of nearly 90% of our historic wetlands. This loss removed the natural filters for water and sediment getting into the lake, resulting in the dark plume we see today. This current environment then creates an imbalance in the ecological system, suppressing plant growth and presence of fish species and wildlife. The greater Holland/Zeeland community has an opportunity and a responsibility to restore Lake Macatawa to a point of high water quality for the clarity, health and enjoyment of its current and future generations.

How long will it take to see the results of Project Clarity?

The project itself will be implemented over the next five to ten years. It is expected we will see an increase in biodiversity (plants and animals present), and measurable, incremental improvements in water quality during this time as we implement our remediation plans – restoring wetlands, improving best management practices, and increase water storage capacity throughout the watershed.  It is very possible that we may meet the desired water quality goals in the next ten years, and certainly in our lifetimes. It is prudent to remember that the degradation of water quality in the Macatawa Watershed developed over the past several decades, and reversing this trend will take time.

What are the benefits of Project Clarity for residents and businesses in the Holland/Zeeland community who are not located on Lake Macatawa?

There are significant benefits for the greater Holland/Zeeland area which will be realized during the five year implementation process and beyond, such as:

  1. Economic impact will be significant as a result of increased tourism, water-based recreation, and water front development
  2. Health and human safety concerns will be minimized due to the reduction in bacterial run-off
  3. Wetland restoration will significantly increase the presence of wildlife habitat
  4. The Macatawa River Greenway – a ten-mile corridor of protected land preserved for water quality, habitat protection, and recreation – will be further developed
  5. Property surrounding Lake Macatawa as well as the Macatawa Watershed will have greater potential for an increase in value
  6. Restoration of the fisheries resource in Lake Macatawa will significantly diversify and grow the population of aquatic vertebrates and fish
  7. The frequency and scale of dredging Lake Macatawa for boat traffic will be reduced, potentially saving millions of dollars
  8. An increased reputation of our community throughout the region as an example of holistic water management

How can I participate in Project Clarity?

Project Clarity is well underway and is being implemented by area experts in water resources, best management practices, environmental monitoring, wetland restoration, engineering, law, and land acquisition. The highest priority for the rest of the community is two-fold: become engaged in helping to raise the $12 million dollars needed to support this worthy project; and/or volunteer to help with the 10-year Information/Education work plan, designed to help all of us better understand the project and better tell the story of Clarity. For further information contact Lynn at lynn@macatawaclarity.org

What if I still have a question about Project Clarity that has not been answered here?

The Information/Education Work Plan includes Community Awareness Events/Presentations, K-12 Educational Curriculum, Literature, and Targeted Informational material which are currently being developed and you will hear more about in the near future. If your question is still not answered, please call Dan Callam, Macatawa Greenway Manager, or Lynn Kotecki, Project Clarity Fundraising Director, at 616-393-9453.