2020 Council business interruptions due to Coronavirus

Due to the need for social distancing, some of the Council’s normal activities and events such as our bimonthly Board of Directors Meetings, Annual Meeting and Kanoe the Kazoo paddle event are on hold. We will try to notify members and the general public when activities resume and our schedule is available.

2019 Kanoe the Kazoo on Richland’s Three Lakes

Join Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Four Townships Water Resources Council, and the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council for a morning of paddling on the Three Lakes near Richland. This paddle is part of the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council’s Kanoe the Kazoo event series.

* Free admission and open to all BUT space is limited and you must register. Please scroll down for registration instructions.

We’ll paddle along the lakeshore as we hear from our guide, Matt Diana, Fisheries Biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. There’s no better way to experience this chain of lakes in the Gull Creek watershed than from the cockpit of a kayak, floating at eye-level with beaver dams, wild rice, and other native wildlife, waterfowl, and great variety of aquatic plants.

No kayaking experience is necessary—we will have a short presentation and how-to talk with Lee’s staff before embarking. However, if you own your own kayak or canoe and are able to transport it, please bring your boat, as the rental kayaks are intended for those who do not own their own boat.

There is no cost for this event for those who bring their own boat.

Rental kayaks can be reserved ahead of time and will be brought to Three Lakes the morning of the event.

A limited number of kayaks are reserved and available for rent on site through Lee’s Sporting Goods. The cost to rent a single kayak, personal flotation device, and paddle is $25. To reserve a kayak, please visit Southwest Michigan land Conservancy’s secure online store:

Wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) is mandatory for everyone on this trip, whether renting a kayak or bringing their own.

Free admission and open to all BUT space is limited!

* Apply sunscreen and bug spray before getting in your boat.
* Wear layers, as the mornings can be quite cool out on the lake.
* Wear sunglasses and/or a hat. In addition, make sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
* Strong, older kids who can paddle their own kayak are welcome, but please get in touch with event organizers if you are thinking about bringing a smaller child with you.
* Finally, don’t forget water and a snack! Paddling in the sun is hard work and you’ll need more water than you think.

Free admission and open to all BUT space is limited!
Please RSVP by calling Hilary Hunt at 269-324-1600, sending an email to, or by filling out the registration form on our website: Directions and further details will be shared with attendees after RSVP. Thank you!

2019 Annual Meeting: CAFOs, Regulations and Citizen Responses

This year’s Annual Meeting at 7:00 PM, May 13, 2019 in the Auditorium at the Kellogg Biological Station will feature two speakers. Scheduled are Bruce Washburn, MDEQ Environmental Quality Analyst for Southwest Michigan, to speak on the regulatory framework for CAFO manure management and Lynn Henning, Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Michigan family farmer and field coordinator for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) to speak about citizen responses to CAFOs.

When: Monday, May 13, 2019, 7:00 pm
Where: W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Auditorium (Room 312)
3700 East Gull Lake Drive
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

The public is welcome. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

The Four Township area watersheds have had productive livestock and crop farms for generations. As with many other industries, there has been a gradual process of consolidation with numerous small family farms being replaced by a few much larger farms. The largest livestock farms are called CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. There are two dairy CAFOs and one beef CAFO in the Four Townships now. According to the USDA, manure from a dairy milking 200 cows produces as much nitrogen as is in the sewage from a community of 5,000-10,000 people. The two dairies in the Four Townships milk over 3000 cows. This means they produce the manure equivalent of the sewage from a city of 75,000-150,000 people every year.

The Council is not considering whether or not CAFOs are the most appropriate way to operate dairy farms. But we are concerned about the proper disposition of all that manure in a location with many valuable lakes and wetlands and where most of our citizens still derive their drinking water from wells.

Next FTWRC Meeting

Due to the need for social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Council will be suspending regular Board of Directors Meeings. [maps]

Our 2018 Kanoe The Kazoo Event

Join the Four Township Water Resources Council for a float on Gull Lake. As park of this trip, you’ll get a demonstration and explanation of the dedicated boat wash station at Prairieville Township Gull Lake Park. Identification of aquatic invasive species, local species of interest spotted during the float, and natural shoreline protection options will be highlighted.

Where: Prairieville Township Gull Lake Park
-15475 M-43, Hickory Corners, MI at the North end of Gull Lake

When: Saturday June 27th, 2018
– Gather at 5:30pm
– Launch onto the Lake at 6:30pm
– Float for about one and a half hours. We’ll do a loop in Gull Lake returning to the Park.
– Bring your own craft (canoe, kayak, etc.), and your own personal flotation devices

Preregister:, select June 27 Gull Lake.

2018 Annual Meeting

The Four Townships Water Resources Council Annual meeting topic this year will be: Conservation Options for Landowners. First off Jamie McCarthy with the Kalamazoo River Watershed (KRW) Council will present an overview of land conservation on a watershed scale discussing the process and results of the KRW Land Conservation Plan. Second, Emily Wilke with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) will discuss conservation easements and specifically some of the conservation projects completed in the Four Townships Region. The Dewey Conservation Easement was a project SWMLC completed in 2017 and Pam Dewey will briefly talk about the process of putting a conservation easement her property from a landowners perspective. Lastly, Sarah Nelson with the Barry Conservation District will present on other water quality protection and conservation programs. It will be a very informative gathering, everyone will learn something.

When: Monday, April 30, 2018, 7:00 pm
Where: W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Auditorium (Room 312)
3700 East Gull Lake Drive
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Light Refreshments will be provided.

Our 2017 Kanoe The Kazoo Event

We are pleased to announce this year’s Four Township Kanoe the Kazoo Paddle, to be held on Upper Crooked Lake, Delton. This event will be co-sponsored by FTWRC and the Prairieville Township Park Board.

When: Saturday June 3rd, 2017
– Gather at 3:00pm
– Launch onto the Lake at 4:00pm
– Float for about one and a half hours, circling Upper Crooked Lake
– Bring your own craft (canoe, kayak, etc.), and your own personal flotation devices

Where: Upper Crooked Lake
– Launch from the public access on Delton Road
– Participant parking at the Bernard Historical Museum, 500’ to the east

Enjoy a late afternoon paddle on Upper Crooked Lake, and learn more about the first dedicated boat wash station in Southwest Michigan.   Natural history education will be provided by local experts:

  • Steve Hamilton: Professor of Ecosystem Ecology & Biogeochemistry at KBS; president of the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council.
  • Ken Kornheiser: Founding member of the FTWRC. Dedicated paddler and life-long amateur naturalist.
  • Steve Allen: Owner of a local environmental consulting firm. Former long-time naturalist with the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Please note: It is required that all vessels entering and leaving Upper Crooked Lake use the boat wash station, in order to reduce movement of Aquatic Invasive Species. This does include everyone participating in this paddle.

2017 Annual Meeting

The 2017 FTWRC Annual Meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, May 1, at 7:00PM. We’ll be holding it in the KBS Auditorium. We’ll have some very interesting speakers from the Michigan DEQ and the Gull Lake Quality Organization.

As always, the public is encouraged to attend and participate!

Draft Watershed Management Plan Update: Four Township Watershed Area

The Four Township Water Resource Council is seeking public comment on the draft Watershed Management Plan.  The plan is being updated with new information about water resource concerns and pollution control projects.  Please submit comments no later than Friday, March 10, 2017 via email to or mail to 1523 Riverview Drive, Suite A, Kalamazoo MI 49004.  If you have questions, please call (269) 978-4606.

Download the DRAFT Watershed Management Plan for review.

Matching Donations Through Benevity

NEW FOR 2017: Four Township Water Resources Council has signed up the Benevity Causes Portal as an approved and registered non-profit cause. If your workplace matching gifts program is through Benevity, you can donate and match to FTWRC online!

The public is encouraged to come and participate.