Ottawa County Water Quality Forum celebrates 10th anniversary

Annual event brings researchers, county government officials, environmental professionals and watershed advocacy groups together to focus on water quality and ecological health.

Registration for the forum is open until Nov. 6, 2015.

Registration for the forum is open until Nov. 6, 2015.

The Ottawa County Water Quality Forum began with a simple question: “What if Ottawa County became known as a place with poor water quality?”

Lake Michigan beaches at state and county parks form Grand Haven to Holland contribute to the county’s thriving tourism industry. Pleasure boating and fishing are also popular activities on Lake Michigan and adjoining waters of the Grand River, Spring Lake, and Lake Macatawa. Water quality has an obvious connection to the quality of such recreational experiences, and research has even demonstrated a link between water clarity and lakefront property values.

For the past ten years, the forum has addressed potential threats to water quality through sharing the results of research and stimulating discussion of possible solutions. In some instances, new ideas for research have emerged and new partnerships have evolved to aid in our understanding of water quality issues. 

Presentations from past forums are now available online, along with an agenda and registration for this year’s forum. The forum will be held 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2015, at the Ottawa County Administrative Complex, 12220 Fillmore, West Olive, Mich. Continental breakfast and lunch are included. Online registration is $12.

Topics will include an overview of Grand River water quality and ecological health and a summary of work being done by Project Clarity to restore the Lake Macatawa watershed. The day will also include a panel discussion on farming and water quality along with presentations on landfill construction, herbicides, stormwater, and groundwater resources.

The Ottawa County Water Quality Forum is developed by a planning committee that includes representatives from Michigan State University Extension, Ottawa County Administrator’s Office, Ottawa County Department of Parks and Recreation, and Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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