Senator Stabenow Announces $762,000 Investment to Improve Water Quality and Fishing Opportunities in West Michigan

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced a new $762,740 investment, which will be matched by private investments, to improve water quality and fishing opportunities in six West Michigan counties. This innovative new partnership is one of 11 projects in Michigan made possible by the Farm Bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, authored by Stabenow.


“Bringing together local leaders to work with farmers on the ground will help improve our rivers, lakes, and streams in West Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “This new partnership will build on the historic investments in land and water conservation that we have already made across the state, which are strengthening local economies and supporting our way of life.”


The project, led by the Barry Conservation District, will bring together local partners, including the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Allegan Conservation District and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. These partners will work with farmers and landowners to install conservation measures to reduce runoff and erosion in order to restore fish habitat and improve water quality in the Gun, Rabbit and Thornapple River watersheds. The project will take place in Allegan, Barry, Eaton, Ionia, Kent and Ottawa counties.


“It is an honor to be a part of such a wonderful project in my home watershed,” said Barry Conservation District Watershed Coordinator David Comeau. “The funding provided by the RCPP will undoubtedly serve not only to protect our water resources, but also to benefit the community in the area by providing funding and technical support to farmers and other landowners to help them continue to be some of the greatest stewards of our soil and water resources.”


Stabenow created the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill to form locally led partnerships between agriculture and conservation groups to preserve land and water, improve hunting and fishing, and protect the Great Lakes. These local projects leverage private and public dollars to bring together partners to address regional conservation issues. In Michigan alone, 11 projects have received over $130 million total in federal funding and partner contributions.


In the 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow strengthened regional conservation partnerships to provide more resources for partners to expand the reach of conservation projects, while cutting red-tape and increasing flexibility for new participants.