East Branch Sub Watershed
From watershed management plan:
Priority areas were identified in the watershed based on lands that are contributing, or have the potential to contribute, a majority of the pollutants impacting water quality. By identifying priority areas, implementation can be targeted to the places where the most benefit can be achieved. Three different types of areas were prioritized in the PPRW – protection, agricultural management, and urban management.
Most of the East Branch Sub Watershed is classified as a High Priority Protection Area. The high and medium priority areas, if not preserved or at least managed properly, have the potential to contribute large amounts of pollution, as well as disrupt hydrologic patterns in the watershed.
Protected Areas - The prioritization of protection areas is based on the amount of natural land cover (habitat), groundwater recharge potential, intact wetland functions, the presence of high-quality water bodies and development pressure. Section 8.1 of the management plan provides more details. The following tasks should be focused in the high and medium priority protection areas.
- Enact/improve water quality protection related ordinances. 2023 Update- Texas Township is exploring riparian ordinance.
- Protect wetlands. 2023 Update- SWMLC continues to add conservation easements along the east branch.
- Enact ordinances protecting riparian buffers. 2023 Update- Texas Township is exploring riparian ordinance.
- Develop and enact design and maintenance standards for road stream crossings.
- Enact a septic system time of sale inspection ordinance. 2023 Update- statewide septic maintenance law being debated.
- Identify and correct problem road/stream crossing sites. 2023 Update- 63rd Ave was replaced while 26th St is still a problem.
- Protect sensitive lands. 2023 Update- SWMLC continues to add conservation easements along the east branch.
- Improve soil erosion and sedimentation practices and regulations (building construction site practices and regulations).
- Improve zoning maps to locate high density or intensive uses in appropriate areas.
- Identify and correct failing septic systems. 2023 Update- statewide septic maintenance law being debated.
The area around the city Paw Paw is a High Priority Urban Management Area while the area around the city of Mattawan is a Medium Priority Urban Management area. These areas are suspected to contain most of the urban related pollutant sources impairing or threatening water quality in this area.
Urban Management Areas - The prioritization of urban management areas is based on significant water body impairments, amount of urban land cover and problems identified by MDEQ staff, MDNR Fisheries staff, Van Buren County Drain Commissioner or through the volunteer inventory process. Section 8.3 of the management plan provides more details. The following tasks should be focused in the high and medium priority urban management areas.
- Utilize stormwater best management practices (road/parking lot sweeping, stormceptors, rain gardens, constructed wetlands, vegetated swales, etc).
- Enact stormwater and post construction control ordinances.
- Identify and correct illicit connections or discharges to stormwater system.
- Utilize best management practices for road maintenance (such as alternative deicing methods).
- Enact a phosphorus lawn fertilizer ban. Completed
- Increase or expand household hazardous waste disposal options. VBCD conducts events.
- Distribute spill kits. VBCD conducts events.
- Properly maintain and design municipal sewer system infrastructure.