Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project
Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project

History of 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 within watershed boundaries may be eligible for funding to replace their septic systems.
  • Cost share can cover up to 75% of the cost to repair or replace your system.
  • The OCD can assist with septic pump-outs & inspections.

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 page 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.

How to Get Started

To get more information on this program, please contact our Watershed Technician Ben Jordan at (616) 842-5852 Ext.5 or