Regional Watershed Planning & MDEQ MS4 Permitting (2006-2013)

Prior to 2013, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a "General NPDES Permit" to all all communities outlining the requirements for addressing stormwater pollution prevention. The General Permit included the following: (1) identification of all MS4 discharges to the waters of the state; (2) identification of any nested jurisdictions under the City's permit; (3) development of a Public Participation Plan (PPP); and (4) development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Initiatives (SWPPI) plan. 

Goal of Watershed Planning

A major component and focus of the GLRC's and the individual communities' efforts was on watershed planning. The goal of watershed planning is to protect, enhance, restore and maintain water quality in order to meet all designated uses and to inspire residents to responsibly mange the land and water in a watershed.  US EPA suggests that “Watershed planning and implementation is a process that includes building partnerships, characterizing the watershed, setting goals and identifying solutions, designing an implementation program, implementing the watershed plan and measuring progress and making adjustments”.

Original 2006 Watershed Management Plans

The GLRC oversaw the development of the original watershed management plans for the
Red Cedar River, Looking Glass River and Grand River watersheds in 2006. All three watershed plans were developed concurrently and in similar styles and with similar content. The primary purpose of the original watershed management planning process was to identify implementation actions needed to protect and restore designated uses and resolve water quality and quantity concerns. Setting both long-term goals and short-term objectives was a major part of that process. Once the goals and objectives were established, actions were then identified to achieve those goals and objectives.

In all, 10 long-term goals, 55 specific objectives and 188 action items were identified in the original 2006 Red Cedar River Management Plan (PDF) and the 2006 Looking Glass River Management Plan (PDF). These goals, objectives and action items were the focus of much of the City and the GLRC's efforts during the 2003 to 2015 permitting cycles.

The City of East Lansing staff actively participated in the public participation efforts and development of the Red Cedar River and Looking Glass River watershed plans. 

The public was also strongly encouraged to participate in the development of the Watershed Management Plans as described in the GLRC Public Participation Plan from December 2009. 

Updated Red Cedar River Watershed Management Plan

In 2011, MDEQ provided funding from the Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant to Michigan State University to develop the updated Red Cedar River Watershed Management Plan (PDF). The 319 requirements address surface waters that exceed water quality standards and as such are defined as impaired water bodies by the State of Michigan.  Development of a 319 Watershed Management Plan for the Red Cedar River makes the watershed eligible for certain federal and state funds for addressing those impairments.  The final plan was reviewed and amended June 25, 2015.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Initiatives (SWPPI)

A SWPPI is a plan that is designed and then implemented with the purpose of reducing to the maximum extent practicable the discharge of pollutants to the surface waters of the State. The SWPPI was intended to be a detailed commitment as to the specific actions which the City of East Lansing would implement to meet the goals and objectives of the watershed management plans and the specific requirements of the City's NPDES Permit. 

The SWPPI addressed the following requirements of the MDEQ General Permit: (1) addressing the individual action items identified in the watershed management plans; (2) development of a Public Education Plan (PEP); (3) development of an Illicit Discharge Elimination Plan (IDEP); (4) development of a Post-Construction Stormwater Control plan; (5) administering a Construction Stormwater Runoff Control program through its existing SESC Program; (6) developing a Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping Activities plan for the City's municipal operations; (7) developing a plan for assessing and tracking the City's efforts in meeting their requirements; and (8) developing an implementation schedule for complying with the requirements.