Aerial Image Above Muskegon County Wastewater System
3.4 Pesticides and Nutrients
While the percentage of agricultural areas within the watershed has decreased significantly over the last thirty years, the remaining agricultural acreage should be considered as a source of NPS pollutants. Fortunately, the row crops of the northwestern portions of the watershed are currently buffered by grassy vegetation. Nearly all of the fields in the area are worked using conservation tillage methods. The remainder of the agricultural areas, the orchards, are not a serious threat from a runoff standpoint, as they are completely vegetated. Also, while pesticide application occurs periodically throughout the growing season, most of the orchards in the watershed are not directly adjacent to the stream, and airborne introduction of pesticides is considered unlikely. However, a number of acres within the orchard areas are drained, and periodic monitoring of the drain outlets is recommended.
Pesticide and fertilizer use is also associated with land uses other than agriculture. Turfgrass management commonly utilizes repeated chemical applications. There are athletic fields, a golf course, and an ever increasing number of residential locations in the watershed using some type of turfgrass management. Water quality problems associated with turf management in the watershed should be managed primarily through education and water quality monitoring.