The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program in Michigan helps local residents to protect one of our most vulnerable natural resources, our water. It’s mission is to provide information and assessment tools for pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer users which help them identify risks to groundwater associated with their pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer use practices and to coordinate local, state, and federal resources to help individuals reduce those risks.

The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program is designed to be voluntary, to be locally driven, to address the concerns of individuals, and to maintain a focus on the financial and technical constraints which drive real-world decisions.

The MGSP utilizes the nationally excepted Farm*A*Syst program. A newly developed tool, know as a Crop*A*Syst has been recently developed to evaluate all in-field practices. These assessment packets help the producer to identify any potential groundwater risks on a local level. All programs are voluntary, and completely confidential. After completing the Farm*A*Syst or Crop*A*Syst packet, the local farmer may be eligible to pursue environmental assurance through the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The MAEAP is an organization that works with producers under Michigan ‘s Right to Farm guidelines. If there are changes needed, the MGSP will work a landowner to achieve sounder environmental practices. The MGSP also offers financial assistance for several practices. Some of the cost share items available through the MGSP this year are as follows:

Cost Share Activity

Cost Share Rate

Abandoned Well Closures

Temporary Pesticide Storage

Manure Test/ Analysis

Intensive Rotational Grazing

Emergency Spill Kits

Anti-Backflow Device

Local producers will also be eligible for pesticide applicator credits for completing a Farm*A*Syst. The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program also tries to protect our groundwater in an urban setting. This is accomplished through the Home*A*Syst, Lake *A*Syst, and Lawn*A*Syst programs. Each of the afore mentioned programs looks at the affect of pesticide and fertilizer practices in a strictly residential setting. The MGSP also sponsors the emergency tube program. An Emergency Tube (E-tube) is a private plan which helps first response vehicles to determine possible contamination factors and sensitive areas in case of a farm emergency. The E-tube consists of a site plan, including all hazardous material, storage and dwellings, and a list of all emergency numbers. The MGSP is also proud to sponsor the Clean Sweep Program. The Clean Sweep Program helps local landowners dispose of unwanted, unused, and banned pesticides, free of charge. With ever increasing urbanization in northern Michigan the need to address groundwater related issues is growing. The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program is here to try and help one of our most important aspects of rural Michigan, the local farmer. The above listed programs are only the tip of the iceberg. Through understanding and careful planning we can protect our groundwater for the next generation. Please take the time to get involved and do your part to help.

Agricultural Water Use Reporting

Two recent water use laws were passed in Michigan (PA 177 & PA 148). State water use reporting (PA 148) will be required by many farm operations. Complaints from small well owners against large well owners will be investigated by the state (PA 177). These public acts reflect change to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) and fall under the enforcement provisions contained therein. A copy of the complete acts may be found at .

Both acts use the like definitions for a “large capacity well.” Large capacity wells are those with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) average in any consecutive 30-day period. The combined capacity of more than one well at a site which is 100,000 gallons or greater capacity per day (70 gallons per minute), also meets the large capacity well definition. Water use reporting will also include surface water withdraws with single or combined capacity of 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) average in any consecutive 30-day period. All agricultural water uses (irrigation, cooling, animal, watering, etc.) will apply to these laws. Well pumping capacity is included in the well log available the local health department, well driller or at:

Act PA 148 will establish state-wide groundwater mapping and water use reporting. This law will create a groundwater resource map of the state and establish a groundwater advisory committee to direct groundwater protection efforts in the future. The MDA will assemble township-based reports annually and forward to the MDEQ. If a producer has a site that exceeds the 70 gallon/minute threshold capacity, then he must start collecting monthly water use data to file the annual water use reporting forms in January 2005. Many producers will receive a mailing asking them to declare whether they will file with MDA at no cost or pay the $100 fee to file with MDEQ. Sample water use reporting forms along with information on method of estimating water use are available at:

For more information on any of the MGSP programs, please feel free to contact your local MGSP representative:


Chris Anderson

Groundwater Technician

Charlevoix Conservation District

303 North Street

Boyne City, MI 49712

Phone: (231) 582-6193



Andrea Berry

Americorp Technician

Chippewa County MSU Extension
300 Court Street

Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783

Phone: (906) 635-6386


Michigan Association of Conservation Districts:

Alcona Conservation District: Sheila Phillips: (989) 724-5272

Alpena Conservation District: Pam Troy: (989) 356-3596 ext.101

Cheboygan Conservation District: Peggy Bannatyne: (231) 627-3383

Montmorency Conservation District: Donna Hardies: (989) 785-4083

Presque Isle Conservation District: Pat Henry: (989) 734-4000

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Offices:

Alcona County : Ryan Kruse: (989) 362-3842 ext.3

Alpena/Montmorency Counties: Grant Sork: (989) 356-3596 ext. 112

Cheboygan/ Presque Isle Counties: Perry Smeltzer: (989) 733-8323 ext. 3

Michigan State University Extension Offices:

Alcona County : CED/AG: Norm Suverly: (989) 724-6478

Alpena County : CED/AG: Mary Dunckel: (989) 354-3636

Cheboygan County : CED: Ben Bartlett (231) 627-8815

Montmorency County : CED: Dennis McClure: (989) 785-4177

Presque Isle County : CED/AG: Dave Glenn: (989) 734-2168

Michigan Department of Agriculture:

Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Montmorency, Presque Isle: Chris Savona (517) 241-3014

Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program:

Program Coordinator: Jan Wilford: (517) 241-4730

For more information, you can also click on the following links:

Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP):

Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD):

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA):

Michigan State University Extension (MSUE):

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (Michigan):

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region 5):

Michigan Environmental Health Association (MEHA):

Institute of Water Research (Michigan State University):