The Saginaw Bay Watershed Groundwater Recharge Project uses an innovative, performance-based funding method to encourage landowners to implement practices that will increase groundwater recharge while also reducing non-point source pollution to nearby surface water.  It's important to maintain levels of groundwater recharge in the region to replenish drinking water and irrigation sources and maintain stream flow for wildlife.  Instead of offering a standard per acre payment to incentivize installation of conservation practices, landowners will be offered a payment based on the total gallons of increased groundwater recharge resulting from their project. 

This initiative aims to increase groundwater recharge by approximately 73 million gallons of groundwater in the Saginaw Bay Watershed by 2019. The project utilizes an online decision support tool, called the Great Lakes Watershed Management System, to estimate benefits to groundwater recharge achieved through the implementation of key conservation practices, including filter strips, conservation tillage and drainage water management (full list of eligible practices below). 

To achieve this goal the project will fund the installation of at least 200 acres of drainage water management and approximately 1,000 acres of other surface practices.  A dedicated conservation technician will recruit interested landowners and oversee contracts, payments and program evaluation.   While there will be special emphasis on recruiting projects within the Cass, Kawkawlin, Pigeon/Pinnebog, Pine/Chippewa, Sebewaing and the Shiawassee River Watersheds,  funding will be available to any interested landowner within the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Groundwater Recharge Project launched in 2015 and is funded through the generous support of corporate partners MethodCoca Cola Foundation, and Kuerig/GreenMountain.  

Current Rates:
A.Annual payment rate for SURFACE PRACTICES: $0.000849 ​/ gallon recharged
B.​Annual payment rate for DRAINAGE WATER MANAGEMENT:​$6.90/ac. + $1,387/water control structure
​C.CRP FILTER STRIP bonus payment: Recharge payment (A.) added to CRP payments offered through USDA-Farm Service Agency 
Click here to sign up.  For more questions about the program, or to submit an application, please contact:
Greg Renn, District Technician
Huron Conservation District
1460 S. Van Dyke
Bad Axe, MI  48413
(989) 269-9540 ext. 3 
For more information on the Saginaw Bay Watershed Groundwater Recharge program, please see the resources posted below: 



  • Map 1:  Eligible Areas Map (Saginaw Bay Watershed)


  • Map 2:  Areas at risk for groundwater depletion overlaid with wellhead protection areas in Saginaw Bay Watershed



 Key Resources