Bass River Deer Creek Restoration 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

The application and contract forms for the Septic Assistance Program are provided here for information. If you would like to apply, please:

Complete pages 1 and 2 of the Septic Assistance Application                           Please review, but do not fill out the contract. Septic Assistance Contract                                                                                                                                            The Watershed Technician will answer any questions you have about the contract during a pre-project meeting, and the contract can be completed at that time.

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

  • To apply for Agricultural BMP cost-share assistance, contact one of our Watershed Technicians. They will set a time to meet with you on your site to discuss natural resource concerns and practice options. 
  • Once the agreed upon practices are approved by EGLE, producers can implement immediately. A contract will be completed and signed prior to first reimbursements.

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