Upper Grand River Implementation Project

About UGRIP

The Upper Grand River Implementation Project (UGRIP) was designed to reduce erosion and sedimentation in targeted sub-basins of the Upper Grand River Watershed.  UGRIP began in 2006 and will continue through the summer of 2012.

The project was created in response to problems identified by the 2003 Upper Grand River Watershed Management Plan.  The plan discovered that certain portions of the Portage River sub-basin ranked as some of the worst areas in the entire Upper Grand River Watershed for nitrate/nitrite pollution, off-field soil loss, adequacy of riparian buffers, and amount of remaining wetlands.  In 2003, the MI Department of Environmental Quality developed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the lower five miles of the Portage River, as well as the portion of the Grand River from the City of Jackson downstream to Tompkins Road.  It was estimated that 9.4 million pounds of total suspended solids (TSS) enter the Grand River annually, while 7.07 million pounds enter the Portage River.  The TMDLs set a goal of reducing total suspended solids in the rivers by 50%.

A 2002 physical inventory conducted by the Jackson County Conservation District identified more than 117,000 feet of riparian areas along four waterways in the targeted sub-basins in need of high conservation practices.  The inventory also revealed areas totaling 6,400 acres that could be restored as wetlands.  These areas are ideal for implementing conservation measures in order to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Portage and Grand Rivers.

UGRIP efforts have focused on educating the public about the water quality issues in the watershed, and working directly with landowners and local governments to plan and implement Best Management Practices for protecting water quality.  The first three years of the project focused on the priority areas in the Portage River sub-basin, but the UGRIP focus area was expanded in 2009 to include sub-basins in the urbanized area and surrounding the main stem of the Grand River north of the City of Jackson.  New parts of the project will explore the potential for restoring old oxbows and wetland areas in the watershed, and improving stormwater detention in the urban sub-basins.



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