Project Clarity

Working to restore the water quality of Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa watershed.

The goal of Project Clarity is to restore the water quality of Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa Watershed located near Holland, Michigan; an area encompassing over 500 miles of rivers, streams and ditches in approximately 175 square miles. Using a multi-phased approach, Project Clarity is focusing on land restoration, community education, and long term sustainability. Each phase builds on its predecessor, avoiding redundancy and providing flexibility in implementation.

Initiated in 2011, Project Clarity began with an 18-month study to identify the causes and sources of nutrients, sediments, and bacteria in Lake Macatawa and develop natural ways to fix the problems. The source of the problems include sediment naturally eroding from stream banks and rivers, run-off of fertilizers and top soil from local farms, and the natural flow of sediment run-off due to heavy rains and melting snow.

Project Clarity is taking the lead on establishing rain gardens, retention ponds, inline storm water sediment basins and boxes, and bioswales (specially designed landscaped areas) in urban and suburban areas. In agricultural settings, over 20 local farms have agreed to plant cover crops, maintain grassed waterways and the buffer strips near them, and engage in no-till farming. All of these projects will help reduce and remove silt, sediment, and pollutants from reaching the Lake Macatawa watershed.

As of early 2017, Project Clarity has completed five wetland restoration projects, six watershed restoration projects totaling over 100 acres, created over 172 acre-feet of water storage, and restored over 450 feet of streambanks.

Project Clarity believes that people today and in generations to come will benefit from this project in the following ways: improved quality of life, increased property values throughout the community, additional flood storage, as well as an increase in tourism and recreation.