MSU receives $1M federal grant to improve water quality in Michigan


EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan State University will lead a project aimed at improving water quality in the state.

The Institute of Water Research through MSU has received a $1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help reduce agricultural field runoff in the Saginaw River watershed through farmer-led outreach and education.

The program will help manage around 20,000 acres of farmland by employing a network of farmers to lead their own communities towards better nutrient management.

“We believe farmer-led groups have the potential to reach more producers through peer-to-peer interactions and increase adoption of nutrient management practices in the watershed,” said Jeremiah Asher, IWR assistant director.

Runoff entering rivers and lakes has some of the most significant impacts on coastal and inland freshwater habitats throughout the Saginaw Bay watershed.

Phosphorous for example can lead to toxic algal blooms that affect water quality, drinking water, recreation, and tourism.

This pollution hurts fisheries, but the MSU program is estimated to prevent at least 7,000 pounds of phosphorus from leaving farmland fields during the three-year project.

The Saginaw Bay watershed is critically important to the entire Great Lake ecosystem, especially Lake Huron. Saginaw Bay is an important source for several fish species, including walleye, as well as home to some of Michigan’s most productive farm soils.

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