Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan

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The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
Antrim County, Michigan ; Grand Traverse County, Michigan ; Kalkaska County, Michigan ; Leelanau County, Michigan ; City of Traverse City, Michigan ; Grand Traverse Bay Watershed
The overall mission for the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan is to provide guidance for the implementation of actions that will reduce the negative impact that pollutants and environmental stressors have on the designated watershed uses. The envisioned endpoint is to have Grand Traverse Bay and all lakes and streams within its watershed support appropriate designated and desired uses while maintaining their distinctive environmental characteristics and aquatic biological communities. Using suggestions obtained from stakeholder meetings conducted throughout the watershed and examples from other watershed management plans, the project steering committee developed six broad goals for the Grand Traverse Bay watershed. By working to attain these goals and their corresponding objectives, threatened watershed designated uses will be maintained or improved. The watershed goals are as follows: - Protect the integrity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems within the watershed. - Protect and improve the quality of water resources within Grand Traverse Bay and its watershed. - Establish and promote land and water management practices that conserve and protect the natural resources of the watershed. - Enhance the amount and quality of recreational opportunities and support a sustainable local economy. - Establish and promote educational programs that support stewardship and watershed planning goals, activities, and programs. • Preserve the distinctive character and aesthetic qualities of the watershed. In an effort to successfully accomplish the goals and objectives, specific and tangible recommendations, called implementation tasks, were developed based on the prioritization of watershed pollutants, sources, and causes while also looking at the priority areas in the watershed. The implementation tasks represent an integrative approach, combining watershed goals and covering more than one pollutant at times, to reduce existing sources of priority pollutants and prevent future contributions. Implementation tasks were summarized by the pollutant and/or source it relates to. In this way, organizations may work on a specific issue (i.e., urban stormwater or shoreline restoration) that may contribute more than one type of watershed pollutant and meet more than one watershed goal. The categories are as follows: Shoreline Protection and Restoration; Road Stream Crossings; Agriculture; Hydrology; Habitat, Fish and Wildlife; Stormwater; Wastewater; Human Health; Wetlands; Invasive Species; Land Protection and Management; Development; Zoning and Land Use; Groundwater; Monitoring; and Desired Uses. Additionally an Information and Education Strategy was developed with specific recommendations which highlight the actions needed to successfully maintain and improve watershed education, awareness, and stewardship for the Grand Traverse Bay watershed. It lays the foundation for the collaborative development of natural resource programs and educational activities for target audiences, community members, and residents. Besides focusing implementation efforts in priority areas, putting special emphasis on reducing and/or eliminating pollution stemming from stormwater runoff, streambank erosion, road stream crossings, fertilizer use, lack of riparian buffers, and the reduction of wetlands, will address the bulk of pollution entering the Grand Traverse Bay and its surrounding watershed. Priority should be given to implementation tasks (both BMPs and educational initiatives) that work to reduce the effects from these sources.