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Muskegon River Watershed Project - Water Quality

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Watershed Pollutants

Thermal pollution and excessive nutrient loading are two of the main known pollutants that are threatening the warm and cold water fisheries as well as other aquatic life in the Muskegon River Watershed. Other pollutants which threaten these designated uses include sedimentation, hydrologic flow, and invasive exotic species. Toxic substances entering the Watershed (including oil, grease, metals, pesticides, and herbicides) also serve to threaten these designated uses as well as the designated uses of partial and total body contact.

All of these nonpoint source pollutants degrade water quality, destroy aquatic habitat, and reduce the number and diversity of aquatic organisms. These pollutants are specific targets to act upon for watershed management and form the basis for all future implementation projects to protect the quality of the watershed.

invasive species Invasive Species

"Invasive species" are non-native species, which cause or are likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Zebra Mussels and the Rusty Crayfish are some of the invasive species found in the Muskegon River Watershed.
Thermal Pollution

Some of the major sources of thermal pollution to the Muskegon River Watershed are lake-level control structures, hydroelectric facilities, and dams.

Lack of streamside canopy, water inputs from drainage networks, and water withdrawals for irrigation are other known sources of thermal pollution.

Increases in any of these sources may increase the loading of warm water to a stream, which may adversely effect the cold water fishery, other aquatic organisms, and in extreme cases, the warm water fishery.
fields Excessive Nutrient Loading

Excessive nutrient loading is another known threat to designated uses in the Muskegon River Watershed. Sources include agricultural runoff (from farming and pasture fields), stormwater runoff (from both residential and urban areas), and commercial fertilizer use (from residential lawns, agricultural fields, golf courses, etc).

Sedimentation caused by streambank erosion may increase channel widening and cause changes in stream water temperatures.
sediment pics

Page last modified January 19, 2011