Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Livingston County, MI

Grantee: Fenton-Livingston Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $34,164
Non-federal Funds: $10,617
Project Duration: 10/1993 - 09/1995
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Sedimentation and nonpoint pollution is listed by the Michigan DNR as a cause for stream degradation for seven miles of the Red Cedar River and for 6 miles of Honey Creek. Additionally, the Red Cedar River is the only watercourse in the Grand River watershed where fish have died from oxygen depletion due to biochemical oxygen demand from both point source and nonpoint source pollution.

The Erosion and Sedimentation Control project is an example of an interagency/citizen effort to reduce soil erosion, the accompanying sedimentation, and fertilizer runoff into the Red Cedar and Huron River watersheds. The Red Cedar and Huron River watersheds contain a combined total of approximately 50,000 acres of cropland in Livingston County. At present, 92,500 tons of soil loss (66 percent of the total soil loss) is accounted for on 10,350 acres (only 21 percent of the total cropland). Program efforts will focus on these 10,350 acres where soil erosion is occurring at twice the tolerable rate. By implementing a filterstrip incentive program and other erosion control structures (e.g., grassed waterways and a no-till program), it is estimated that this project will reduce sediment loadings into the Red Cedar and Huron River watersheds by approximately 14,000 tons in one year (10,000 tons from filter strips alone).

The Great Lakes Basin Program is allocating $34,164 over a 15-month period to the following areas: program planning, design planning, evaluation, education/information, implementation and administration. These tasks will provide farmers with the necessary resources and technical assistance to implement an erosion control strategy on their land and will inform interested citizens about sustaining this program past the designated timeline.

Filterstrips were the primary means identified to achieve the project's sediment reduction goals. 10,389 linear feet of filterstrips (14 acres) have been established in the Red Cedar River watershed. This represents 124% of our goal on an acreage basis and 70% of our linear feet goal.

Four drainage outlet stabilizations (rock chute design) were also installed and a grassed waterway system of approximately 3000 linear feet has been designed.

A district conducted informal phone survey of farmers and custom no till providers (as well as the Districts direct experience with their own no till service) estimated a 24% increase in no till planting in the Red Cedar watershed over the past two years. It is estimated that 3,100 acres are now planted no till or approximately 18% of the total row crop acres.

The above erosion control measures resulted in a sediment reduction of 3,679 tons, and a reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen loadings of 4,283 pounds, and 6,247 respectively for 1996. These results were obtained using the 319 calculation. Total savings for the 2-year project period include a sediment reduction of 7,148 tons and a reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen loadings of 6,998 pounds and 10,412 pounds respectively.

The project will not achieve the goals outlined in the grant proposal of a sediment reduction of 14,000 tons per year, for the following reasons: 1) fewer linear feet of filterstrip were installed than originally planned due to participants desire to install 66 foot wide filterstrips rather than the anticipated 33 foot wide filterstrip; 2) the drainage areas affected by the filterstrips were smaller than anticipated; and 3) the 319 calculation was not used when the grant proposal estimates were derived. The assumptions were far more generous than projections would have been had the 319 formula been used.

To inform and educate local farmers about the filterstrip program, the district included articles on the program in its newsletters and the local newspaper with a circulation of 6,300. The District technician also spoke at several public events and made contacts with several citizen environmental groups such as Friends of the Red Cedar to inform them of the program, highlight successes and solicit input.

The Great Lakes Basin Program funds have leveraged $10,617 from non-federal sources over the life of the grant.


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