Heights Council Gives Muskegon Conservation District Access To Mona Lake Wetlands

Andrew Trzaska | October 10, 2011

Muskegon Heights will work with the Muskegon Conservation District to protect its wetlands on the west end of Mona Lake Park.

At a meeting late last month, the full council unanimously approved adoption of a resolution authorizing the creation of special conservation easements for a section of the city’s marshland bordering Mona Lake.

The wetland area in question begins behind the former Chi Chi’s/Red Dragon BBQ site and nearby mobile home park and stretches westward to near Peninsula Drive, where the City of Norton Shores begins.

This easement means the city will still own the land, but the Muskegon Conservation District will have the ability preserve the area and access the land as they need to and enforce regulations concerning the environment there.

According to their website, the Muskegon Conservation District is a “unique governmental subdivision of the state created to serve as stewards of our natural resources.”  The site goes on to say that the MDC was formed in 1938 and focuses its efforts on assisting communities in restoring, protecting and managing natural resources.

This is not the first environmental item to come across the desks of the City Council in 2011. Back in early spring, the Mona Lake Watershed Council approached the city for a memorandum of understanding concerning the celery fields on the southeast end of Muskegon Heights which drain into nearby Mona Lake.  Those fields were contaminated with fertilizers, causing high phosphorus levels in the water.  The Watershed Council plans to drain the fields and refill them in a special sequence that will help restore life to the fields.

This Conservation District easement is a separate effort from the Mona Lake Watershed Council’s work.

Mayor Darrell Paige noted after the passage of the resolution that the council saw the Conservation District’s expertise in endangered species and habitat conservation as a benefit to the city.

Representatives from the MDC were not available for further comment at publication time.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst