Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project

*As of September 2022, the Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project is no longer active. OCD staff will be working to reinstate funding sources for septic and agricultural BMP implementation within these watersheds, but until then there are a number of other technical and financial resources within the District available for Agricultural BMPs. Check out our Agriculture Services page for more info.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in this project!


About the Watersheds

The Bass River and Deer Creek watersheds are located in central and northeast Ottawa County, respectively, and drain into the Lower Grand River. Both watersheds are designated by the State of MI as impaired by E. coli bacteria and face other pollution issues such as excess nutrients and sedimentation. Major sources for these pollutants include runoff from agricultural fields, manure from livestock, and failing residential septic systems. To address these issues, the Ottawa Conservation District started the Bass River and Deer Creek Restoration Project.

About the Restoration Project

The Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project was developed to address water quality issues in the Bass River and Deer Creek. The primary goal of the project is to reduce E Coli contamination in both bodies of water. To reach this goal, the project provides landowners with technical assistance and cost share opportunities to:

  • Inspect, repair, or replace failing residential septic systems in the watershed.
  • Develop and install best management practices on agricultural land to prevent run-off and promote water quality in the watershed.

What We Offer


The Bass River and Deer Creek Restoration Project is funded by a 319 nonpoint source grant from the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Through this grant, the OCD can offer education/outreach, technical assistance, and funding to landowners to implement conservation practices to reduce nonpoint source pollution. The program offers cost share to both residential property owners through our Septic Assistance Program and agricultural producers through our Farm BMP program.

Septic Assistance

  • Homeowners located within watershed boundaries may be eligible for funding to inspect, repair, or replace their septic systems. 
  • Cost-share can cover up to 75% of the cost to repair or replace septic systems.

Septic Application Forms

We are currently not accepting applications for Septic System Replacement cost share for the Bass River and Deer Creek watersheds. OCD hopes to apply for additional funding sources for this program in the future. If you live within these watersheds and are interested in participating in a future program, feel free to contact our Watershed Technicians so they can keep a running tally of potential applicants to keep informed.

Agricultural Best Management Practices

  • The OCD has cost share available for agricultural BMPs to reduce erosion and runoff.
  • Funding for cover crops, reduced tillage, buffer strips, livestock exclusion fencing, manure management, etc.
  • All programs are voluntary and confidential. You work with the OCD – not the state or federal government.

Agricultural BMP Application

Though funding for Agricultural BMP’s is no longer available though this Bass River and Deer Creek – specific program as of September 2022, there are additional technical and funding resources available through a number of other District programs, including the Farmland & Water Quality Conservation Initiative or the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. We hope to provide additional cost-share assistance to landonwers in the future through this program.

Contact Information

To get more information on this program, or to get started on an application, please contact one of our Watershed Technicians:

Ben Jordan at 616-842-5852 Ext. 5 or

Sarah Bowman at 616-842-5852 Ext. 5 or