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    Since the 1980s, the City of Grand Rapids has monitored the Grand River and major tributaries upstream and downstream of Grand Rapids quarterly at 15 sampling locations. The Water Quality Index has improved slightly on average since this monitoring began and is consistently above 70 upstream and downstream indicating “good” water quality.

    Water Quality Index

    Grand River and Tributary Sampling Sites

    ​The reference for the temperature change was chosen to be the temperature of the Grand River at Northland Dr. (our most upstream river location). There were a couple of times when there was too much ice at Northland Dr. to get a sample. On these occasions, the reference temperature was set to zero Celsius. This is likely to be very close to the actual temperature considering the circumstances. The application of the temperature of the Grand River at Northland Dr. is easy to defend as a reference for the down stream river locations. It is harder to defend as a reference for the streams. The rational is that it is the quality of these streams as they impact the Grand River that is of interest. Therefore, using the upstream river reference temperature is also applicable to the streams.

    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Draft 2012 Integrated Report indicates several sources of pollutants in Michigan Rivers:

    ·         Atmospheric deposition  (affects over 52,000 miles of rivers and streams) 
    ·         Unknown Sources
    ·         Habitat alterations
    ·         Hydromodifications
    ·         Municipal permitted discharges
    ·         Stormwater permitted discharges
    ·         Agriculture (grazing, crop production, animal feeding and handling)
    ·         Spills and unpermitted discharges
    ·         Urban related runoff (stormwater)
    ·         Legacy (historical pollutants)
    ·         Industrial permitted discharges
    ·         NPS
    ·         Land application (waste sites)
    ·         Natural
    ·         Resource extraction
    ·         Groundwater loadings
    ·         Construction
    ·         Turf management

    The largest single source of pollutants in Michigan rivers are “non-point” sources such as livestock, cropland, impervious surfaces, construction sites, illicit connections to storm sewers, septic systems, channelization and stream bank erosion. If we want to make significant, rapid progress, we have to address these very pollutants together as a Watershed.  

    A Watershed approach must be taken to improve water quality. By implementing the following programs we are making better water quality an integral part of our future: 

    • Lower Grand Watershed Organization
    • Green Grand Rapids Master Plan Update
    • Sustainability Plan
    • Renewable Energy
    • Green Infrastructure Portfolio Standards
    • Energy Efficiency Projects
    • Stormwater Master Plan
    • Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control
    • Grand River Water Quality Monitoring 
     

     Soil Erosion

     
    The photo to the left is an example of severe erosion caused by an improperly designed or maintained system.