Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society



11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday, October 27, 2014
Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire, Michigan.  This is our Annual Meeting where members gather to learn about Chapter activities and progress, and to welcome newly elected officers.

Please email our Secretary if you are planning to attend this Annual Meeting. We need a count for handout printing.  Also, we need at least 5 officers and 5 members who are not officers to meet our quorum requirement.


1:30 to 4:45 p.m., Monday, October 27, 2014
Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire, Michigan

Join the SWCS Michigan Chapter on October 27th as we head outdoors to explore area farms in Northern Michigan. Enjoy discussions about Michigan agriculture and hear first-hand from producers who are working to protect the environment and the state's natural resources.

Producers will highlight their participation in programs like the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program or MAEAP, Farm Bill programs and innovations implemented on their operations.  Hear tips about how to market your programs and communicate with producers.

The tour stops include the following:

  • Shooks Family Farm who celebrate their 100th year of farming this year. Check out their website at: http://shooksfarms.weebly.com/ 
    The Shooks Family grow about 1100 acres of corn, soybeans, hay and cherries. They also raise more than 450 Holstein beef cattle which they provide to area restaurants and the Central Lake Public Schools. Shooks Family Farm celebrated their 100th year of farming this year.
  • King Orchards. http://kingorchards.com 
    First generation farmers and brothers, John and Jim King, along with their families grow more than 180 acres of Montmorency tart cherries for use in making their tart charry juice concentration as well as black sweet cherries, Balaton cherries, peaches, apples, pears, plums, nectarines and apricots.

The tour shuttle bus will load at 1:30 p.m. 

To register, go to the MACD website.  There, click to go to the Registration Page, and then click on the Registration Form.  On the registration form, if you are only attending the SWCS Workshop, select the second Partner Workshop which is the SWCS Program.  However, if you are registering for the full MACD Convention or the  Monday Single Day Registration, the SWCS Workshop is included in those registrations.

Registration is limited to 25 - register today to get your seat on the shuttle bus!


9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2015
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing, MI
During ANR Week at Michigan State University 

For more information, go to ANR Week  

Registration will open in January, 2014. 


October, 2014 Newsletter 

September, 2014 Newsletter 

August, 2014 Newsletter
(New Format.  Takes you to the mailchimp website)

    Previous Year's Newsletters can be accessed under the Archives sub-tab
    under the "About Us" tab.


Farmland, Food and Livable Communities
Lexington, Kentucky - October 20-22, 2014
American Farmland Trust's National Conference
Join American Farmland Trust this fall in Lexington, KY, for our first-of-its-kind national conference on Farmland, Food and Livable Communities.  More.



This tour was held on Saturday, September 20th, starting at 10:00 am in Pellston where the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians Tribal Fish hatchery was toured. Lunch was at the City Park Grill in Petoskey. Then the tour proceeded to Coveyou Centennial Farms - regional leaders in conservation. The tour was free, and ended about 3:00 p.m.

Tour Site Descriptions 

Tour Agenda 

Tour Location Map 



                   BANDS OF ODAWA INDIANS

                          FUTURE BIG FISH!

                            INSIDE COVEYOU SCENIC FARM MARKET
                         SOUTH OF PETOSKEY

                                         ONE REASON WHY THIS IS CALLED
                                          COVEYOU SCENIC FARM MARKET!

                         COVEYOU SCENIC FARM MARKET

Held March 7, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

SEMINAR THEME - "A Matter of Balance: Approaches to Soil Health and Water Quality" 

Soil health and water quality are intrinsically linked, and management of these resources faces great challenges due to emerging ecological, economic and climatic pressures. It is important, now more than ever, to support soil’s natural ability to filter water that moves across and through a landscape. Establishing conservation practices that support a balanced relationship between soil health and water quality is a proven best management practice in agricultural production. Management choices that fail to recognize and protect the physical, chemical, and biological attributes of healthy soil have the potential to jeopardize water quality and ecological productivity.

Soil not only holds environmental and agricultural importance; it is vital to ensuring the growth of a healthy economy.1 In this Seminar, we will examine emerging practices to mitigate the vulnerability of our soil and water resources to changing climatic, market and land use conditions in the context of our global challenge to meet growing demand.

1 Healthy soil: The basis for a strong economy and wholesome environment, PHYS.ORG, 10/30/13 




Speakers and Presentations

Dr. Eugene Kelly, Professor, Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.

Kick-off presentation
Sustaining the Pedosphere: Establishing A Framework for Management, Utilization and Restoration of Soils in Cultured Systems. pdf
Dr. Sieg Snapp, Professor, Kellogg Biological Station
Michigan State
University, East Lansing, MI
Soil health and water quality: Is perennial cover the critical ingredient?  pdf 
Colleen Forestieri, Conservation Technician
Van Buren Conservation District 
The Dirt on Clean Water: How Farmers are helping protect the Paw Paw River Watershed pdf 
James Hoorman, Extension Educator
Ohio State University Extension, Celina, Ohio 
Keeping Nitrogen and Phosphorus out of Surface Water with Cover Crops  pdf 
Ken Blight, Blight Farms, Inc.
Calhoun County, Albion, MI 
A Matter of Balance: From a Farmer's Perspective  pdf  
Mary Fales, Director, Saginaw Bay Watershed Project
The Nature Conservancy
How Much Conservation is Really Enough?
Lessons from The Nature Conservancy's Saginaw Bay Watershed Project
Dr. Eugene Kelly, Professor, Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO. 
Wrap-up presentation 
Innovation is our tradition: Perspectives on the future of Soil and Water Quality Research and Management.

Held on November 6, 2013
Holiday Inn, Big Rapids, Michigan

Annual Meeting - 11:00 a.m. to noon. 

Annual Meeting Agenda

Workshop 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Workshop Agenda 

Workshop Speaker Biographies 

Workshop Presentation Abstracts


James Klang, PE
Kaiser & Associates, LLC
A Research Summary of Soil Health Benefits  PDF 

Mark Ludwig, Project Coordinator and Technician Allegan Conservation District
Vertical Expansion:Expanding the Root Zone to Increase Profitability and Decrease Environmental Impacts PDF

James Klang
Conservation Market Place Midwest: Market-Based Programs for Agricultural Conservation

Held Saturday
, October 5, 2013

The Michigan Chapter Soil and Water Conservation Society held their Fall Touring event on Mackinac Island on Saturday, October 5. The event included three tours. The Mackinac Island Geology and Natural Features Tour was held in the morning, and the Composting Site/Wastewater Treatment Facility Tour and the Grand Hotel Green Initiatives Tour were held in the afternoon.

We had a buffet lunch at the Grand Hotel at noon. The legendary Grand Luncheon Buffet is one of the highlights of the Grand Hotel experience.

Here is information about, and photos from, the tours.

Composting Site/Wastewater Treatment Facility Tour

We first biked to the Island’s Recycling and Solid Waste Composting Operation. This site is vitally important, since every dumpster of trash shipped to a landfill on the mainland costs $1,100. Sorting materials that can be recycled or composted is the job of every resident and business. Mackinac Island has the only approved municipal solid waste composting operation in the state. More.

Empty bottles and other recyclable plastics are brought in from throughout the island and converted to bales to be shipped to a processor off the island.

The value of the recycled materials nearly pays for the operation.

Materials that can be composted are shredded, mixed and added to the composting operation that includes several large bins and a loader to move the material.

We then biked to the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).  (Location map) Upgrades have been made recently to ensure long-term compliance with its discharge limits. The upgrades were designed to take into account the large fluctuation in flows and loads observed at the plant as a result of seasonal tourism on the island. More.

The project included new influent flow metering, a new summer headworks facility, a new winter mechanical screen, and many other upgrades. Mackinac Island received low interest loans and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to cover the costs of the project through the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development agency. More.

Grand Hotel “Green Initiatives” Tour

In 2009, the Grand Hotel was awarded the Green Lodging Michigan (GLM) “Partner” certification from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) for its comprehensive efforts to protect the environment. The award recognizes the fact that behind the scenes of the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island are state-of-the-art programs to seek out and implement the latest technology to protect the island’s pristine environment.

The Grand Hotel viewed from the gardens below.

These efforts include:

  • The water-based air conditioning system Grand Hotel designed and installed in its most classic rooms
  • An island program that composts all biodegradable waste on the island
  • Changing over to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the hotel
  • Offering guests an option with regards to the frequency of linen exchange
  • Limiting the amount of paper waste by centralizing some information instead of delivering to all guestrooms
  • A specially designed composting system that produces all the compost Grand Hotel uses in its signature flower beds.

It takes about a year and a half to use a compost pile, and the hotel has three piles going at any one time. Work on the piles and on the hotel’s gardens starts in the middle of April each year and goes through the middle of November. Each fall the hotel plants a ton of flower bulbs, including 25,000 tulips and 15,000 daffodils.

For the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island, all of these initiatives are part of a continuing effort to provide modern conveniences to visitors while protecting the environment and maintaining the 19th Century charm for which both are known around the world.For the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island, all of these initiatives are part of a continuing effort to provide modern conveniences to visitors while protecting the environment and maintaining the 19th Century charm for which both are known around the world.

Mackinac Island Geology and Natural History Tour

Jeff Dykehouse, Mackinac Island State Park Naturalist from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, guided this walking tour.

Jeff took the group to the highest point on the Island, which is the site of Fort Holmes, approximately 310 feet above the surface of Lake Huron.

The site affords visitors an extraordinary view of Round Island, the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge.

During the tour Jeff talked about the Island’s wildlife and the impacts of human activity and invasive species on the wildlife. He also discussed the geological history of the Island, and answered questions about Mackinac Island State Park. (More)

Held Wednesday, March 6, 2013 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

A Matter of Balance: After the Aftermath - Addressing Natural Resources in Emergencies

When an emergency strikes, natural resources are inevitably affected. The goal of this Seminar is to give you an overview on how to be prepared for your role as a conservation professional or landowner when an emergency happens and natural resources are at risk. Presentations will address incident command structure, local and national case studies, and Michigan related resource concerns that are relevant to emergency response on working lands. “Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” --Max Mayfield, Director National Hurricane Center.

    About the Speakers: (Biographies)

    About the Presentations: (Abstracts)

    About the Program: (Agenda)

    Speaker Presentations

    Brad Deacon, Emergency Management and Administrative Law Coordinator, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Morning Presentation: Overview of Emergency Management and the Incident Command System. (pdf)

    Ralph Dollhopf, On Scene Coordinator, Emergency Response Team, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Unified Response to the 2010 Enbridge Line 6b Discharge. (pptx)  Note: This is a large file, 36 MB. Contains animation.  You need Powerpoint Viewer 2007 or a recent version of PowerPoint to view this.  If you need to upgrade your PowerPoint Viewer, go to this link.

Jay Wesley, Southern Lake Michigan Unit Manager, Fisheries Division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

    Responding to Natural Resource Damages Associated with the Enbridge Line 6b Oil Spill (pdf)

Dan Busby, MAEAP Verifier, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Emergency Planning for the Farm. (pdf)

    Extension Bulletin E2575 (pdf)

Brad Deacon, Emergency Management and Administrative Law Coordinator, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Afternoon presentation: Food, Agriculture and Rural Michigan - All Hazards Emergency Preparedness. (pdf)

Dale Rozeboom, PhD, Professor/Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University.

    Mortality Management Planning and Response Considerations - Addressing Natural Resources in Emergencies. (pdf)

    Held November 7, 2012,1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    At Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Center
    in Lansing, Michigan


    Pointing at Non-point:
    Finding the Source at the Watershed Scale

    This afternoon technical session explored the world of watershed sediment fingerprinting research and the implications this has on how we manage the land. Participants learned about research techniques that attempt to track where erosion is really occurring in a watershed. Presentations included information about a recent study that has been conducted and is on-going in the Macatawa Watershed, a small watershed in southwest Michigan that drains directly to Lake Michigan. Participants learned how this type of research can be used by land managers and resource professionals to more effectively target conservation on the ground. We discussed how this type of research impacts how we view non-point source pollution. This research raises the question: Does the ability to track non-point source pollution make it a point source?



    Speaker Biographies


    Dan Callum, Watershed Technician
    Outdoor Discovery Center/Macatawa Greenway
    A-4214 56th St
    Holland MI 49423

    PRESENTATION PDF: Multi-Parameter Sediment fingerprinting
                                       in a Small Michigan Watershed (8.3Mb)

    Allen Gellis, Ph.D.
    Research Geomorphologist
    U.S. Geological Survey
    5522 Research Park Drive
    Baltimore, Maryland 21228

    PRESENTATION PDF: Sediment Fingerprinting and Sediment Budgets as                                    Management Tools.  This is a zipped file.

    Graham F. Peaslee, Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry Chemistry Department
    Hope College
    35 E. 12th St.
    Holland, MI 49423

    PRESENTATION PDF: Macatawa Watershed Water Quality Research Project (2.7Mb)

    Held on OCTOBER 5, 2012
    12000 DAVISBURG RD.

This tour focused on some of the Natural Features in Oakland County, Michigan. The tour started at 9:30 a.m. in the Springfield Township Hall for registration and early refreshments.

We then participated in an approximately 2 hour presentation and tour of the Shiawassee Basin Fen with the Springfield Township Parks and Recreation Department.

Then we returned to the Township Hall for a lunch of Pasties from Uncle Peter's Pasty Restaurant in Clarkston. The Oakland Conservation District was our host at lunch. Jay Blair, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS, Lapeer, presented a program during lunch.

After lunch we traveled by bus to Oakland Township to visit and tour the Oak-Pine Barrens at Lost Lake Nature Park with the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Department.

Then we traveled by bus to Yule Love It Lavender Farm where we had refreshments of Lavender Tea and Scones, and toured the Farm and facilities.

Then our group returned to Springfield Township to close the day.

Our Tour Hosts will included:

  • Oakland Conservation District (at registration and during lunch)

  • Springfield Township Parks and Recreation Department

  • Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Department

  • Yule Love It Lavender Farm

PHOTOS FROM TOUR:  This link will take you to Box.net.


HELD MAY 3 AND 4, 2012 

East North Central Region Leaders pose for a picture during their tour of Enbridge/Talmadge Creek/Kalamazoo River Oil Spill remediation and restoration activities at Saylor's Landing near Marshall, Michigan.

For more information on this event, see our September 2012 Newsletter.

Held on March 7, 2012

Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
East Lansing, Michigan


Energy and water are inextricably linked, according to a Great Lakes Commission Issue Brief. Called the Energy/Water Nexus, the brief states that it takes water to produce energy and it takes energy to make water available. How does this relate to Working Lands, such as Farmland and Forest Land? It takes energy to get products from working lands, and working lands produce energy in foods and fuels. The production of biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol, uses vast amounts of water. When ethanol is produced from corn that is irrigated, it can use nearly 1,000 gallons of water per gallon of fuel. It takes energy to provide this water, and energy costs money. So any practice that produces energy or reduces energy use, potentially reduces costs. This Seminar looked at the relationships of energy, water and working lands, how each impacts the others and how both conservation and wise use helps to sustain all three. For more information on the Energy/Water Nexus, see the Great Lakes Commission Issue Brief.

Speakers included:
Brandon Souza, Assistant Executive Director, Agricultural Water Management Council, Sacramento, California.

California Agriculture: The Water-Power Connection pdf

Howard Reeves, Hydrologist, USGS, Lansing, Michigan.

Water Availability and Use in the Great Lakes Region pdf

Steve Miller, Visiting Instructor, Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, MSU

Irrigation Energy Needs PowerPoint

Brandon Souza, Assistant Executive Director, Agricultural Water Management Council, Sacramento, California.

California Water Issues: Agricultural Water Use Efficiency and Conservation pdf

Richard M. Vanderbeek, Loan Specialist, USDA Rural Development.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) pdf

Patricia Birkholtz, Director, Office of the Great Lakes, State of Michigan.

All Things Great Lakes pdf

Speaker Biographies

Seminar Agenda

Suggested links for additional information about the Energy-Water Nexus.

For related information, visit the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Energy Web Site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/energy.
    Held December 7, 2011
    At Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
    Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

  • WORKSHOP: Energy Conservation and Agriculture

    Energy Conservation on agricultural operations is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for the producer’s wallet.  This session will focus on Energy and how agricultural professionals can assist producers with conserving energy on their operations.  The first step is an analysis of the operation’s energy needs through a Farm Energy Audit.  The session will also discuss how operations can produce energy on-farm and reduce the amount of energy needed by implementing the energy audit findings.


    Charles Gould, Extension Educator

    Nutrient Management and Bioenergy/Biomaterials
    MSU Extension

    Provides relevant expertise in the areas of bioenergy, bioproducts and energy conservation to Michigan farmers that enable them to be sustainable now and in the future. Charles received his Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and his Master’s degree from The University of Georgia. He has been with Michigan State University Extension for 16 years.


    Aluel S. Go, Specialist
    Certified Farm Energy Auditor
    Manager of Michigan Farm Energy Audit and Certification Program
    Michigan State University

    Coordinates Michigan State University and Michigan Agricultural Energy Council (MAEC) efforts in energy efficiency including working with utility providers regarding their Energy Optimization (EO) programs.



    Held Friday, August 26, 2011,
    in Calhoun County, Michigan

    Photos from tour 

    Photos of slurry seeding plots shown on our summer tour.

Newsletter with tour followup story
  • Michigan Chapter ANR Week Seminar
    Wednesday, March 9, 2011
    Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, Michigan

    Simply put, ecosystem services are the multitude of benefits provided by the environment. The idea of ecosystem services is nothing new. What is new is the way that ecosystem services are being considered by conservation organizations and natural resource managers. An ecosystem approach challenges us to consider all aspects of a proposed action, not just the primary purpose. For example, a grassed waterway helps to safely convey excess water off a field to reduce erosion, but how does this practice affect wildlife? Air quality? Carbon sequestration? Join us as we explore the world of ecosystem services and how to incorporate these ideas into the ways we manage our natural resources and environment. Check the this website for program updates and registration information.
Michigan Chapter Annual Meeting and Workshop
Held Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

The Michigan Chapter SWCS Annual Meeting and Workshop was held in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Annual Convention.



Held Friday, October 1, 2010

Region 2 (Northern Lower Peninsula - Traverse City)

Note: 9-Bean Rows grows food chemical free.  Produce grown in the seasonal high tunnel at Black Star Farms is grown chemical free.  9-Bean Rows and Black Star Farms are not USDA Certified Organic farms.  Gene Garthe's chemical free orchard blocks and Light-of-Day Organics farm are USDA Certified according to 7 CFR 205.

Neither the Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society nor the Soil and Water Conservation Society endorse or promote the goods and services provided by these farms.


      Held August 19 and 20, 2010

      In Region 1 (Upper Peninsula) near Sault Ste. Marie

    • Michigan Chapter Professional Development Seminar
      Held March 10, 2010, during ANR Week
      Michigan State University
      Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
      East Lansing, Michigan

      Seminar Title: A Matter of Balance: Peak Phosphorus - Balancing Demand, Supply and the Environment
      • AgendaSpeaker Bios
      • Sponsored by: David Borneman, LLC
                                   Ecological consulting services, specializing
                                   in prescribed burns and restoration of
                                   native habitats 

                           and The Michigan Chapter SWCS

      Dearborn, Michigan, July 11 - 15
      (More information)


    Each year the chapter hosting the SWCS Annual Conference sponsors a silent auction with the proceeds going to scholarships for college students majoring in a conservation field. The Michigan Chapter has given scholarship money to students from Michigan Tech, MSU, and Grand Valley, to name a few, studying soils, agriculture, forestry, conservation, environmental engineering and biology. This year the Michigan Chapter raised over $4,000 for their scholarship fund from their Silent Auction at the 64th Annual International Conference at Dearborn, Michigan.

      Held Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
      Michigamme Room, Kellogg Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

    A Matter of Balance: Soil and Policy/Economics/Climate Change/Public Demand

    The purpose of this Seminar was to discuss the relationships between the prospect of sustainable soil productivity for future generations versus the way we have been and are managing the soil, the demands we put on our soils and the expectations we have for our soils.  We looked at a brief soil history of western civilizations; the current state of our soils and our progress in conservation and management; why is soil important; the impact of climate change; and economic and policy issues that drive our decisions in soil use, management and conservation.  Attendees should have gained a better understanding of the need for conservation, enhanced respect for the importance of soil and an understanding of the impact of human decisions on soil sustainability.

    This seminar was intended as a professional development program for SWCS members and others who work in the field of soil conservation and management, but was also open to land users, students and anyone else interested in our soils.

    Agenda (pdf)

    Speakers, information on the speakers, and their presentations in pdf form:(Some are large files)

    Dr. Diane Stott, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS National Soil Erosion Laboratory, Purdue University (About the speaker)
    Presentation: Soil Conservation and Soil Quality: History and Current Status (8.15MB pdf)

    Dr. Stuart Grandy, Assistant Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University (About the speaker)
    Why Soil Matters - Soil as a Living System (8.69MB pdf)

    June Grabemeyer, State Economist, USDA-NRCS, Michigan State Office, East Lansing, MI (About the speaker)
    Presentation: Why Farmers Farm the Way They Farm (1.87MB pdf)

    Dr. David Skole, Professor of Global Change Science, Department of Forestry, Michigan State University (About the speaker)
    Presentation: The Emerging carbon Markets: Opportunities for Soil and Biomass Offset projects in Agriculture and Forestry (4.57MB pdf)

    Dr. Peter Nowak, Professor, Environmental Studies, The Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison (About the speaker)
    Presentation: The Gretzky Model of Conservation (2.42MB pdf)