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Moving Beyond the Bells and Whistles: Implementation Plan Formulation for a Kalamazoo River/Lake Allegan Phosphorus TMDL

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Lake Allegan, a 642-hectare impoundment situated approximately thirty-four river kilometers from Lake Michigan in the lower portion of the 5,232 km2 Kalamazoo River watershed, is hypereutrophic. Problems in Lake Allegan include algal blooms, low oxygen levels, poor water clarity and a fish community heavily dominated by carp.

Over the past three years, a broad range of watershed-wide participants actively engaged in dialogue with the state of Michigan in developing a phosphorus TMDL that focuses on seasonal (April-September) loading limits. These stakeholders subsequently developed a flexible implementation (load reduction) plan. The TMDL targets water quality improvement goals, identifies sources of phosphorus in the watershed and sets reduction goals for point sources and non-point sources. The plan identifies the strategy to accomplish these goals.

The TMDL implementation plan, completed in 2002, is available to the watershed public via the Internet ( It was designed to engage and educate stakeholders as to the sources, solutions and requirements of meeting these new water quality goals. To establish a level playing field and accountability amongst all watershed stakeholders with the plan, a consistent set of guidelines were adopted for all reduction strategies applying to point sources and a range of non-point sources. Innovative measures that accommodate phosphorus trading, point and non-point source tracking and cooperative agreements in lieu of individual waste load allocations have been incorporated into a flexible framework. TMDL development challenges and the implementation plan framework intended to address these issues are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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