Van Buren Conservation District

Watershed Projects

Paw Paw and Black Rivers Wetland Protection and Restoration Project

In April 2013, the Van Buren Conservation District completed a three-year project funded by a $806,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality through the U.S. EPA Federal Clean Water Act.  The focus of the project was wetland protection and restoration, and built off  the watershed management plans developed for the Paw Paw and Black River Watersheds.  The projects three main focus areas include:

  • Wetland Protection: Grant funds were used to permanently protect over 850 acres, 420 of which are existing wetlands.
  • Wetland Restoration: Approximately 70 acres of land that has been drained in the past was restored to wetland conditions.
  • Outreach & Education:  Brochures, newsletters and other outreach materials were developed and distributed to educate landowners and municipal officials about the importance of preserving and restoring wetlands.  A variety of workshops and field days were also held.

Questions? Please contact Watershed Coordinator, Erin Fuller at 269-218-0199 or

Why Wetlands?

Since European settlement, between 50 and 60% of our original wetlands have been converted for agriculture or development.  Wetlands are crucial for protecting our drinking water, protecting property from flooding and providing habitat for wildlife. 

Wetlands perform a variety of functions for us; they filter our water, store floodwaters, provide habitat for wildlife, and much more. For more information, see our Landscape Level Wetland Functional Assessment brochure: LLWFA_brochure2

Wetlands Work For Us Part 1: The Function of Wetlands from Luke Petersen on Vimeo.

Wetlands Work For Us Part 3: Conservation Easements from Luke Petersen on Vimeo

Wetlands Work For Us Part 2: Making the Connection from Luke Petersen on Vimeo

Wetlands Work For Us Part 4: Restoration from Luke Petersen on Vimeo