Land Stewardship in Southeast Michigan

Why Our Work is Needed

Delta Institute seeks to engage landowners, land managers, and farmers to implement conservation practices in Southeastern Michigan, thus improving environmental outcomes. Specifically, we seek to improve water quality in the Great Lakes Basin through the reduction of nutrient loading and runoff. Transitioning to a different approach to land management will also enable farmers and producers to improve soil health and enhance the profitability and resiliency of their operation.

 

Brief Overview of What We’re Doing

To better understand the socioeconomic, environmental, and political dynamics that impact the success of these agricultural conservation programs, the project team at Delta Institute has compiled and summarized data on producer demographics, land use, cropping area, tenure status, conservation practices, and conservation program participation and outcomes. Our assessment also provides preliminary analysis of the data trends presented herein with a focus on four target counties located in Southeast Michigan. These counties, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Monroe, span the boundaries of eight subbasins, four of which drain directly into the western basin of Lake Erie. Note that St. Joseph/Tiffin is part of the Maumee River Watershed.

We’ve also completed an assessment of potential mechanisms to increase adoption of conservation practices in Southeast Michigan that increase the sustainability of agricultural operations and improve water quality. Specifically, the project team investigated the applicability and feasibility of the mechanisms described below for implementation in Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties. Additionally, the assessment highlights successful case studies of similarly structured programs in Midwest states and describes their basic programmatic frameworks to illustrate how the various mechanisms might be implemented in Southeast Michigan.

 

Location

 

Project Materials and Resources

The resources below include the Current Conditions Assessment and Recommendations Roadmap that have been developed by the project team during the first phase of our land stewardship efforts in Southeast Michigan:

Current Conditions Assessment

Click to view/download.
This assessment presents data on producer demographics, land use, cropping area, tenure status, conservation practices and conservation program outcome and participation. It also provides preliminary analysis of the data trends in the focus geography.

Recommendations Roadmap

Click to view/download.
This roadmap is an assessment of potential mechanisms to increase adoption of conservation practices in Southeast Michigan that increase the sustainability of agricultural operations and improve water quality. Specifically, the project team investigated the applicability and feasibility of the mechanisms described below for implementation in Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties. Additionally, the assessment highlights successful case studies of similarly structured programs in Midwest states and describes their basic programmatic frameworks to illustrate how the various mechanisms might be implemented in Southeast Michigan.

Partners

Delta Institute is partnering with Michigan State University, the Michigan Environmental Council, the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, and many other local and regional partners who provided their talent, expertise, and feedback to help inform these assessments and recommendations.

Funding

This project is being supported by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

 

Banner photo by Johannes Plenio

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