Gratiot Conservation District is working with an online tool developed by MSU-Institute for Water Research called the Great Lakes Watershed Management System (nicknamed the Sediment Calculator). It is available for any property within the Saginaw Bay Watershed. But, how does it work?
The calculator is programmed to evaluate the landscape based on soil types, slope of the land, proximity to priority waterways, and current practices on the field. It utilizes a complicated algorithm to show areas where there is a high likelihood of erosion potential. On the computer screen, it shows up as bright pink!
But even without the Sediment Calculator, viewing a field from an aerial view can illustrate where conservation efforts are most needed. Keeping permanent vegetation between a field and a stream goes a long way towards keeping the stream free of sediment buildup. Where there is no buffer, there is a higher likelihood of sedimentation. Conservation practices like no-till farming and planting cover crops can drastically help keep the soil on the land by reducing exposure to wind and water erosion.
If your property is within the Saginaw Bay Watershed, technicians at the Gratiot Conservation District can sit down with you to go over your resource concerns, develop sediment-reduction scenarios for your property, prepare maps, use the Sediment Calculator to show you how your property compares to the surrounding landscape, and help you decide what conservation practices will work best for you.