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Resources for Lake Michigan Academy Presentation

Lake MI Academy SWMPC Presentation on SJRW Wetland Partnership 


Planner's Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments by The Environmental Law Institute


Lake MI Academy SWMPC WEBINAR Presentation


St. Joseph River Watershed Management Plan


Paw Paw River Watershed Management Plan 


Urban Build-Out and Stormwater BMP Analysis in the Paw Paw River Watershed  A report estimating pollutant load changes with increased urbanization in the PPRW.


MDNRE Presentation on Wetland Function Assessment


Assessing Cumulative Loss of Wetland Functions in the Paw Paw River Watershed Using Enhanced National Wetlands Inventory Data

A report completd by MDEQ (aso called a Landscape Level Wetland Functional Assessment).


Critical Areas for Preservation in the Paw Paw River Watershed

The PPRW Land Protection Committee assisted the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) in the development of a model used to map critical areas for preservation.


PPRW Preservation Area Model  (PPRW preservation map incorporating wetland function assessment data)


PPRW Agricultural Area Model


PPRW Urban/Developing Area Model


Southwest Michigan - Potential Conservation Areas

The mapping effort also includes identifying Potential Conservation Areas.  These maps were developed by Michigan Natural Features Inventory.   


A report explaining the criteria and methodology used to create these maps can be downloaded by clicking here:

Berrien, Cass, Van Buren Counties Potential Conservation Areas:  Providing Ecological Information for a Green Infrastructure Plan


Planning and Zoning Recommendations

Master plans should:

  • Identify water and natural resources in the municipality
  • State the value of the water and natural resources to the community
  • Target development to the most appropriate areas
  • List specific actions or policies to protect water quality and natural resources


Basic planning and zoning approaches that will help to protect water quality include:

- preserving open spaces by encouraging compact development in areas with existing infrastructure

- enacting water quality protection setbacks from surface waterbodies (rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands)

- reducing impervious surfaces (parking lots, driveways, roads, lot setbacks, lot coverage)

- requiring low impact development techniques to be utilized to reduce runoff and slow water down, spread it out and soak it in as much as possible

- ensuring the site plan review process requires the identification of natural features on site plans and having review standards which require their protection

- clustering development to reduce impervious surfaces and protect open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas

- requiring the use of native plants species to increase infiltration of stormwater

- limiting growth in areas where soils are not suitable for septic systems

This page last updated on 9/28/2010.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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