Riparian Homeowner's Stewardship Project
Ingham County, MI

Grantee: Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council
Basin Program Funds: $9,500
Non-federal Funds: $7,250
Project Duration: 05/1997 - 06/1999
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Riparian homeowners in the Red Cedar River watershed are not aware that their activities have an impact upon the river's water quality. An information/education program designed to promote the economic benefits of riparian best management practices could help energize homeowners as a good source of coordination, leadership and labor for riparian projects.

Red Cedar River riparian homeowners do not realize that their activities, such as composting too close to the river's edge, misuse of pesticides and fertilizers, or maintaining a riverside lawn with no buffer strip, combine to degrade the quality of Red Cedar River water. Homeowner Associations (HOA) formed along the Red Cedar River enjoy both economic and quality of life benefits from a healthy river. With this impetus, HOAs have the potential to be active guardians of the river which is both a natural and economic resource. HOAs are potentially the most effective forum for completing projects that require significant coordination, leadership and labor because they are established groups accustomed to working together and are more experienced at developing consensus than an ad hoc volunteer group.

Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council (Mid-MEAC) drew upon the labor, coordination and leadership potential of four homeowner associations (HOA) along the Red Cedar River Indian Hills HOA, Riverwood HOA, Sylvan Glenn HOA and Tacoma Hills HOA. Through a variety of fora, including canoe trips, walking tours and seminars with HOAs, project staff informed riparian homeowners about potential threats to Red Cedar Creek water quality. They outlined actions individual homeowners could undertake, including environmentally sensitive lawn care and home maintenance procedures. In addition, project staff conducted 15 individual on-site consultations with interested homeowners to provide recommendations for buffer strip design and water resource protection.

Project staff completed and distributed the Red Cedar River Riparian Homeowner's Handbook to over 300 individual homeowners, local government officials, and other interested groups. In total, they produced and distributed more than 1,800 copies. In addition, project staff conducted 15 individual, on-site consultations with interested homeowners and provided recommendations for buffer strip design and water resource protection. With volunteers, project staff designed and constructed three major riparian buffer strips over 300 feet along the river.

Contact: Alice Austin, Director, (517) 337-2237


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner