End of summer bummer; E. coli closes Silver Beach; high waves delay retesting Herald Palladium, August 28, 2019

SustainabiliME Better Beaches Podcast Now Available sustainabiliME, July 22, 2019

Website promotes cleaner water, better beaches Herald Palladium, July 5, 2019

Warren Dunes, Weko Beach, Cherry Beach water off-limits due to E. coli Herald Palladium, June 25, 2019

Sewer line break closes Cherry Beach Herald Palladium, June 20, 2019

Berrien County won’t be doing rapid beach water testing this year Herald Palladium, June 6, 2019

Trained Dogs Find Sources of Contamination Herald Palladium, July 15, 2016

Featured Article

Tour, workshop part of Cleaner Water Better Beaches campaign

water treatment plant tour
A scene from the mid-September tour of the Galien River Sanitary District Sewer Authority water resource recovery facility in New Buffalo.

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Cleaner Water Better Beaches website for the Lake Michigan Tributaries Watershed Management Plan (, offers visitors a comprehensive understanding of the streams and rivers that empty into Lake Michigan from Stevensville to the Indiana state line.

“After a lengthy grant application, SWMPC (the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission), with its partners, was able to secure funding to raise awareness of the aging and failing sewer system and septic systems in this area,” said Senior Planner Marcy Hamilton. “We authored a watershed management plan that details solutions to reduce pollution. Ultimately, we want to eliminate beach closings due to E. coli bacteria levels being too high.”

Link to Full Article

Learn More

Environmental Protection Agency Useful Information and Guidelines

Michigan Licensed Septic Contractors
List provided by Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

Reducing E. coli Contamination of Beaches, Rivers, and Lakes A Guide for Homeowners

Michigan BeachGuard System
A public resource provided by Michigan EGLE for information on Michigan beach water quality sampling results and beach advisories and closures.

Michigan’s E. coli Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
Routine testing has shown E. coli levels in many areas are above the water quality standard. When the water quality standard is exceeded, the Federal Clean Water Act requires that Michigan develop a TMDL to provide a framework for restoration of water quality.

For Teachers and Kids

child playing outdoors in water

Water on the Go
The Cranbrook Science Center offers free programs about Great Lakes watersheds at school sites.

Teaching with Great Lakes Data
Provides water-related data sets, teaching suggestions and ready­to-go lessons about weather, hydrology, and dead zones. The activities develop higher-level thinking and science process skills.

An Introduction to Michigan Watersheds for Teachers, Students and Residents

Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Includes a series of online visuals and tutorials about water, watersheds, and environmental issues.

Thanks to our Project Partners

Project partners along with support from the cities, villages, and townships, are identifying sources of water pollution and working on solutions to reduce pollutants entering our streams, inland lakes, and Lake Michigan.

Southwest Michigan Planning Commission —Wrote the watershed management plan and coordinates project partners and local units of government to develop and implement solutions to reduce pollution.

Berrien County Health Department —Conducts a summer beach testing program to determine if beaches are safe for swimming.

The Pokagon Fund —Provided local match funding to develop the watershed management plan and conduct outreach and education.

Great Lakes Scientific —Assisted with E. coli testing, understanding results and finding solutions.

Chikaming Open Lands —Developed a prioritized list of properties for protecting water resources to guide future land protection efforts.

Lake Michigan Tributaries Watershed Management Plan

Lake Michigan Tributaries Watershed Mgmt. Plan
A guide for the protection and improvement of water quality.

Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report

21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report
An assessment of Michigan’s infrastructure, future vision, and how to bridge the gap.

Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report
This website was partially funded with a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Michigan Finance Authority’s Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) program, Project #1013-01.
Local match funding was provided by The Pokagon Fund, Fresh Pet, Inc., Wightman, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and Aardvark Wordsmith.