Pigeon River Watershed Management Plan

Between 2020-2022, the Ottawa Conservation District worked in close conjunction with local partners to write an approved watershed management plan (WMP) for the Pigeon River Watershed, which is  located in central Ottawa County and drains directly into Lake Michigan.

A WMP documents the sources and causes of water pollution and outlines a strategy to address activities that are negativly effecting water quality within the watershed. The WMP provides an action-oriented approachto address thse needs and proposes solutions for effectivly managing and restoring all of the intended uses in the watershed. This management plan includes a collection of existing information, documents current resource concerns and monitoring data, and lays out goals and objectives necessary to restore areas of the watershed that are impaired by nonpoint source pollutants such as E.coli, altered hydrology, sediment, nutrients, and chloride. The plan was completed and approved by EGLE and the EPA in August of 2022. By completing this plan, Ottawa Conservation District is now able to apply for EGLE Section 319 Nonpoint Source grant funding implement technical and financial assistance programs within the watershed, similar to our work in the Bass River, Deer Creek, Crockery Creek, and Sand Creek watersheds, and work with land and business owners to improve water quality in the Pigeon River.

The Pigeon River Watershed flows through Blendon, Robinson, Olive,and Port Sheldon Townships within Ottawa County, draining directly into Lake Michigan. 

Land use in the Pigeon River Watershed is primarily agricultural, especially in the Headwaters region. Even though runoff from agricultural land is a known NPS pollutant to the Pigeon River, agricultural land also has the potential to be the largest contributor to its preservation and restoration.

Several critical areas and sites were identified throughout the Pigeon River Watershed that are likely contributing the most significant sources of nonpoint source pollutants. Critical areas were identified for a number of potential pollutant sources such as agricultural fields, manure application sites, livestock sites, public road stream crossings, streambank erosion sites, human fecal contamination areas, high water temperature areas, and chloride contamination areas. These identified critical areas will serve as target areas for future restoration efforts to improve water quality conditions throughout the entire watershed.

To address these critical pollutant areas, the Ottawa Conservation District came up with a three-phase action plan which identifies key practices to reduce pollutant loads and improve water qualtiy. These practices include: installing agricultural Best Management Practices such as cover crops, reduced tillage, grassed waterways, livestock exclusion fencing, drainage managment, nutrient management plans, and manure storage. Additional practices include individual septic system repairs or replacements and installation of streambank restoration practices. Educational workshops and other outreach will also be conducted to bring awareness of the issues to the Pigeon River community.

To learn more about the Pigeon River Watershed and OCD’s plan to restore water quality, check out the completed plan below!


SIDMA Report

An important part of a watershed management plan is understanding the natural resource concerns of the residents in that watershed. Throughout 2020 the District and our grant partners sent out surveys to residents of the Pigeon River Watershed and the responses are compiled in this SIDMA final report.

Click here to read the summary report.

Click here to read the full report.

The Watershed Management Plan

The 2022 Pigeon River Watershed Management Plan is now complete!

Click here to read the full plan.

Why Water Quality Matters

The ultimate goal of this management plan is to make the watershed more competitive in receiving future funding to address natural resource concerns. Why do we care so much about water quality? Find out more information on our Water Quality page!

View the 1997 Pigeon River Watershed Managment plan by clicking here

Read the full press release for this project by clicking here.