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Water Stewardship in Northern Michigan

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) provides support to farmers and other private property owners as they consider management practices that will reduce the threat of groundwater contamination and improve the quality of our region’s fragile watersheds.

Looking for MAEAP resources? Click here.

See a list of all MAEAP-verified farms in the Grand Traverse region.

View a map of MAEAP-verified farms in Northern Michigan.

Agricultural Water Stewardship

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) works with farmers to evaluate their entire operation and make sustainable, science-based management decisions that balance environmental, economic, and societal factors.  MAEAP is a proactive, voluntary program that provides farmers confidential, technical advice to address environmental risks on their farms. Over 100 farms in the Grand Traverse Region have gone to great lengths to become MAEAP-verified and deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their voluntary efforts to safeguard our natural resources. MAEAP-verified farms have taken steps to address potential environmental risks and are in conformance with the Michigan Right to Farm Law and State/Federal environmental laws. To become MAEAP verified, farmers work with the Grand Traverse Conservation District to complete three comprehensive steps: attending an education seminar, completing a thorough on-farm risk assessment, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks.  The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) conducts an on-farm inspection to verify program requirements related to applicable state and federal environmental regulations, including Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs). To retain MAEAP verification, a farm must repeat all three steps including MDARD inspection every three years. MAEAP-verified farms practice environmental stewardship by:

  •  Using proven scientific standards to protect our air, water and soil.
  •  Maximizing natural nutrients and reducing use of fertilizers made from fossil fuels.
  •  Ensuring safe storage of fuel, fertilizer, and chemicals.
  •  Balancing efficient production and sound environmental practices.
  • Having emergency plans ready to deal with the unexpected.
  • Protecting natural resources using environmentally sound practices
  • Acting as good neighbors.
  • Helping to protect the Great Lakes.

When you see a MAEAP-verified farmer, rest assured knowing that they are taking care of the land while making a living for their families.

Residential Water Stewardship

The Great Lakes are among the most important ecosystems in the world as they contain nearly 20% of the world’s fresh surface water! Northwest Michigan’s nearly 200,000 residents occupy a highly fragile landscape characterized by sandy soils and an abundance of lakes, rivers and wetlands. Following environmentally-sound practices at home is therefore paramount to the long-term health of Lake Michigan (and by extension, the world)  To this end, the Michigan Water Stewardship Program provides a variety of tools and resources to help local residents reduce the impacts of pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer use in their home landscapes. The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program is designed to be a voluntary, locally-driven tool to address the concerns of individuals while maintaining a focus on the financial and technical constraints which drive real-world decisions. To learn more about water stewardship and how your farm can become environmentally verified, contact:

Laura Rigan (231) 941-0960 x 22, lrigan@gtcd.org

Jessica Alpers (231) 941-0960 x 23, jalpers@gtcd.org