… Potential manure pit leaks at Flower Creek Swine and ground application potentially compromising water quality are at the crux of ROAD’s protests…  



Creek close to pig farm being built near Lake Michigan ‘very degraded': researcher


By Justine Lofton, MLive Michigan

Mar 11, 2019


MONTAGUE, MI – Big Flower Creek near Montague is unhealthier than most streams running through agricultural areas, according to research commissioned by a group seeking to block a pig farm nearby.


Findings suggest the creek is “very degraded” due to agricultural practices in the area, said Richard Rediske, professor of water resources at Grand Valley State University. He couldn’t say whether the pig farm that’s under construction would directly impact the water quality.


High levels of E. coli make the creek unsafe for human contact during rain events, he said. Sediment and E. coli are also threatening fish populations, including brook, rainbow and brown trout, according to the research.


Rediske will present his report during a community forum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Montague City Hall, 8778 Ferry St.


The event will be hosted by Reviving Our American Democracy (ROAD). In July, the group filed a petition with the state seeking revocation of the operating permit for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) at Flower Creek Swine near Lake Michigan. It was one of several moves the organization has planned to block the CAFO, according to a previous news release.


Potential manure pit leaks at Flower Creek Swine and ground application potentially compromising water quality are at the crux of ROAD’s protests.


The CAFO is about one-quarter mile from Big Flower Creek and about two miles from Lake Michigan in Claybanks Township, just north of Montague in Muskegon County. It is near Big Flower Creek, which flows into nearby Lake Michigan.


Construction of the CAFO barn continues, owner Jacob Marsh said on Friday, March 8. The concrete pit is completed, and the barn atop it is mostly framed. It’s unclear when it will be ready to house pigs.


The covered, enclosed barn is expected to house up to 4,000 pigs at a time and sit atop a 1.5 million-gallon concrete pit that will collect waste through slatted floors. Plans call for the manure to be pumped into tankers for application on fields in the area.


In December, ROAD was denied in Muskegon County Circuit Court an injunction to stop construction of the CAFO.


In the revocation petition to the DEQ, ROAD claims that the permit terms don’t protect water quality in the nearby Flower Creek watershed, which feeds into Lake Michigan.


The petition is moving through the process, and has not been resolved, said Chris Conn, environmental quality specialist for the DEQ water resources division, enforcement unit...