Tuscola Water Stewardship Program
The Tuscola Water Stewardship Program is a cooperative effort designed to help individuals reduce the risks of water contamination associated with pesticides and nitrogen fertilizer use. It is voluntary, locally driven and designed to address the concerns of individuals by maintaining a focus on the financial and technical constraint which drive real-world decisions. The program is funded through fees that are assessed on sales of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizer. Contact Steve Schaub at 989-673-8174 ext. 3 or e-mail with any questions.
Why Protect Groundwater?
Half of Michigan's residents rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Groundwater also recharges our surface water, which are used for drinking, as well as habitat for fish and other creatures in rivers, streams and lakes. Preventing groundwater contamination is necessary to sustain our health and quality of life here in the Great Lakes States.
How Does the Program Help to Protect Groundwater?
The Water Stewardship Program helps individuals protect groundwater through a mix of the following elements:
• On-Site risk assessments - raises awareness of activities which may pose a risk to groundwater.
• Technical assistance - helps individuals implement practices to reduce those risks to groundwater.
• Education/Demonstration - identifies real world or cost effective solutions to groundwater problems.
Local water stewardship teams work together to ensure that the mix of these elements meets local needs and interest. Local teams may include farmers, commodity groups, agribusiness, health department personnel, citizens and others. The teams also provide a collective voice for pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer users in determining the direction of the statewide program.
Water Stewardship Practices
A number of stewardship practices are available which will help to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination, including:
• permanent and/or portable mix/load pads
• permanent and/or temporary pesticide storage
• equipment calibration
• pre-side dress nitrate testing
• nutrient managing
• bulk fertilizer secondary containment
• irrigation backflow prevention device
• spray controller and monitor
• healthy lawn and garden practices
Water Stewardship Program Educational Materials
Farm "A" Syst is a series of fact sheets and worksheets used to evaluate risks in and around the farmstead. All assessment materials remain on the farm, so they are completely confidential. Farmers who complete a Farm "A" Syst onsite with a trained groundwater technician are eligible for technical assistance and cost-share opportunities.
Crop "A" Syst is an expansion of Farm "A" Syst materials designed to address risk associated with the field application of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers.
Home "A" Syst is a voluntary, confidential self-assessment program individuals can use to evaluate their home and property for pollution and health risks. Eight Home "A" Syst chapters cover essential topics that every home owner or resident should be aware of. Each chapter contains key points, along with tables or worksheets that help identify and reduce home risks.
Lawn "A" Syst and "Managing Shoreline Property to Protect Water Quality" are supplements to Home "A" Syst that examine home yard care and the special role of shoreline property owners in pollution prevention.
Michigan Emergency Tube
The Michigan Emergency Tube project helps farmers be prepared for an emergency and protects local emergency crews. A farm emergency plan is developed, placed in a weather resistant tube and located outside where it can be accessed by emergency crews. This is an expansion of the Farm "A" Syst program, the emergency tube helps farmers meet legal requirements such as SARA Title III.
Clean Sweep - Many of us have unused or unusable pesticides stored on our property. Clean Sweep helps eliminate these risks. Individuals can bring unwanted pesticides to one of Michigan's Clean Sweep sites for proper disposal at little or no cost to the landowner. The Water Stewardship Program, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and local agencies, pays for the disposal of these pesticides.
Container Recycling - The Water Stewardship Program teams up with agrichemical dealers across the state to offer the Container Recycling program. Each year, thousands of plastic pesticide containers are collected, ground up for easy handling and recycled