Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Alliance

GLWWA Watershed Action Plan (WAP)*

*To view entire WAP, click on the following link: GLWWA WAP.  While there, click on State Endorsed WAPs. Click on Endorsed Plans.  Locate Grand Lake-Wabash and choose which section you would like to read.

Summary of Objectives

 The Grand Lake/Wabash River Watershed Action Plan outlines the following best management practices (BMPs), both agricultural and non-agricultural, that have the potential to improve water quality in our watershed. The plan includes target locations and is updated annually. The status of each Objective is updated and can be seen below.

 

OBJECTIVE 1- Cover Crops

Objective Statement: Establish winter cover crops on 10,000 acres within the Grand Lake/Wabash River watershed within three years and maintain utilization of cover crops on each farm the following winter.

Target Locations: Areas selected for cover crops will be based on livestock producers need to land apply manure during the winter months and their willingness to participate. Based on the livestock inventory for each subwatershed, the following likely target areas were identified:

  1. Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
  2. Wabash River below Stony Creek above Beaver Creek subwatershed
  3. Little Beaver Creek subwatershed
  4. Chickasaw Creek subwatershed
  5. Beaver Creek subwatershed
  6. Wabash Headwaters to below Bear Creek subwatershed
  7. Beaver Creek below Little Beaver Creek to Wabash River subwatershed

 

OBJECTIVE 2 – Conservation Tillage and Planting

Objective Statement: Establish conservation tillage on 5,000 acres of cropland throughout the watershed in five years.

Target Locations: The entire watershed will be considered eligible for conservation tillage. Priority may be given to areas of highly erodible land and according to TMDL results. Based on those two factors for each subwatershed, the following likely target areas were identified:

    1. Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
    2. Beaver Creek subwatershed
    3. Chickasaw Creek subwatershed
    4. Coldwater Creek subwatershed
    5. Little Beaver Creek

Potential participants will first be ranked according to several criteria and will achieve a higher status when converting from conventional tillage to a form of conservation tillage, enrolling a large number of highly erodible acres, enrolling sloping soil acreage, and area’s proximity to streams or the lake.

 

OBJECTIVE 3 – CNMPs and MNPs

Objective Statement: Develop and encourage the use of CNMPs or NMPs for 48% of all acres in the watershed.

Target Locations: CNMPs or NMPs are needed throughout the watersheds.

 

OBJECTIVE 4 – Tile Control Structures

Objective Statement: Install 100 tile control structures on exiting tiles to monitor water exiting tiles, particularly during manure application periods. These structures will be used in combination with tile plugs.

Target Locations: Priority will be given to livestock producers that apply liquid manure to their fields. Priority will also be given to producers that have a CNMP written or are willing to have a CNMP written. Based on the livestock inventory and TMDL results, the following priority areas were identified:

  1. Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
  2. Chickasaw Creek subwatershed
  3. Beaver Creek subwatershed
  4. Coldwater Creek subwatershed
  5. Wabash River Headwaters to below Bear Creek subwatershed
  6. Beaver Creek above Little Beaver Creek to Wabash River subwatershed

 

OBJECTIVE 5 – Direct Discharge Milkhouse Wastewater

Objective Statement: Identify dairy operations that currently directly discharge milkhouse wastewater within the watershed and have them install a storage facility or treatment facility (i.e., holding pond, treatment wetland, treatment filter strip, etc.). All systems should be installed within five years.

Target Locations: An attempt will be made to identify ALL dairy operations that currently have no facilities to store or treat milkhouse wastewater.


 

OBJECTIVE 6 – Manure Management Technology

Objective Statement: Encourage the use of best management practices for manure management, brokering manure to fields which receive commercial fertilizer and incorporate manure management and/or treatment technologies on at least two livestock farms within the Grand Lake St. Marys and Wabash River watersheds and demonstrate the effectiveness of the practice to the public.

Target Locations: This project can be implemented on any livestock farm managing liquid manure. Priority areas identified based on livestock inventory include:

  1. Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
  2. Chickasaw Creek subwatershed

Load Reductions: There is currently no tool available to calculate load reductions from these technologies; however, sampling of the liquid exiting a geotextile tube (utilizing hog manure) has shown up to a 98% reduction in ammonia and up to a 99% reduction in phosphorus. The manure will become more solid and more transportable and can then be trucked out of the watershed. Irrigating wastewater on growing crops will reduce the potential of runoff, as the crops will uptake the nutrients.

Resources: ODNR, SWCD, NRCS, Farm Service Agency staff and manure management experts will assist with implementing this objective.

Education/Information: Results from this objective will be documented and displayed for public education. Photos will be taken of the project to highlight the benefits of the technology. Field days or workshops will be conducted to demonstrate the benefits as well. Local media will be used often to inform the public of the progress of the technology.

Funding: Federal, State and local grant opportunities will be needed to implement this objective. In 2007 a Conservation Innovation Grant for using geotextile tubes for manure dewatering was received and completed. A committee which includes Indiana participants has been formed for the Wabash River Watershed. The ultimate goal of this group is to fund programs and projects.

 

OBJECTIVE 7 – Filter Strips or Riparian Buffers

Objective Statement: Establish 620 acres of filter strips or riparian buffers (170.5 miles of streambank) within the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed at an average width of 30 feet within five years.

Target Locations: Based on the number of stream miles with less than 10 feet of protection and considering landowner willingness to install the practice, the following acreages were estimated:

  1. 190 acres in the Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
  2. 140 acres in the Wabash River Headwaters to below Bear Creek subwatershed
  3. 80 acres in the Wabash River below Stony Creek above Beaver Creek subwatershed
  4. 80 acres in the Beaver Creek below Little Beaver Creek to Wabash River subwatershed
  5. 70 acres in the Chickasaw Creek subwatershed
  6. 60 acres in the Coldwater Creek subwatershed

For available non-Farm Bill programs, applicants will be ranked based on a number of selection criteria and will receive more points when additional conservation practices are being implemented on their farm.

 

OBJECTIVE 8 – Filter Areas

Objective Statement: Establish 500 acres of filter areas around tile inlets, receivers, road ditches and other sensitive areas within the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed at an average width of 30 feet within five years.

Target Locations: The locations chosen for installation will be those areas with severe encroachment or erosion near receivers.

For available non-Farm Bill programs, applicants will be ranked based on a number of selection criteria and will receive more points when additional conservation practices are being implemented on their farm.

 

OBJECTIVE 9 – Shoreline Protection

Objective Statement: Stabilize 20,000 lineal feet of Grand Lake St. Marys shoreline that are prone to erosion, prioritizing those areas directly adjacent to naturally occurring wetlands within five years.

Target Locations: Sites will be chosen based on severity of erosion and the location of naturally occurring wetlands.

 

OBJECTIVE 10 – Streambank Protection

Objective Statement: Stabilize 2,000 linear feet of streambank that is prone to erosion using natural stream design techniques within five years.

Target Locations: Sites will be chosen based on the willingness of landowners, the rate and severity of erosion and based on engineering judgment. 1,000 feet chosen for stabilization will be located in the Wabash River watershed and 1,000 feet will be located in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. It is preferred that the 1,000 feet in each watershed be continuous if possible.

 

OBJECTIVE 11 – Wetlands

Objective Statement: Construct or restore 60 acres of functional wetlands within five years to allow for filtration of nutrients and settling of sediment.

Target Locations: Priority areas for wetlands are those located directly adjacent to Grand Lake St. Marys, the Wabash River and their tributaries. CRP, CREP and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) have specific soil type requirements for land to be enrolled in the programs; therefore, locations will be dependent upon meeting those requirements as well.

 

OBJECTIVE 12 – Construction Sites

Objective Statement: Ensure that proper sediment and erosion controls are being utilized on construction sites throughout the Grand Lake/Wabash River watershed.

Target Locations: Areas of focus will include those developing areas directly adjacent to Grand Lake St. Marys, the Wabash River and their tributaries.

 

OBJECTIVE 13 – Lawn and Garden Fertilizer Reduction

Objective Statement: Reduce over application of phosphorus and nitrogen on 350 lawns and gardens by assisting with residential lawn and garden nutrient sampling to evaluate the needs of individual lawns and gardens prior to the application of fertilizers and chemicals.

Target Locations: All homeowners within the watershed will be eligible to apply for the program. However, those potential participants that are closest to Grand Lake St. Marys, the Wabash River or their tributaries will receive priority. Homeowners that have attended a workshop on lawn and garden fertilization techniques will also receive priority.

 

OBJECTIVE 14 – Septic Systems

Objective Statement: Replace 110 failed or compromised septic systems within the watershed. Systems will be abandoned to tie into central sewer systems or upgraded to an on-lot, no discharge system such as the mound system, elevated leachfield system, etc.

Target Locations: Priority areas were identified based on the number of homes built prior to 1973, as older homes are more likely to have failing septic systems. The subwatersheds include:

  1. Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed
  2. Chickasaw Creek subwatershed
  3. Wabash River below Stony Creek above Beaver Creek subwatershed
  4. Beaver Creek subwatershed
  5. North Shore subwatershed

 

OBJECTIVE 15 – Centralized Sewer

Objective Statement: Discontinue the use of home sewage treatment systems in concentrated residential areas by connecting those areas to centralized sewer systems.

Target Locations:

  1. St. Joseph (Wabash River above Bear Creek below Stony Creek subwatershed)
  2. Wabash (Wabash River below Stony Creek above Beaver Creek subwatershed)
  3. St. Anthony (Wabash River below Beaver Creek to New Corydon subwatershed)
  4. Cassella (Beaver Creek subwatershed)

 

OTHER OBJECTIVES:

  1. Promote the installation of grassed waterways in areas of evident gully erosion.

  2. Encourage the continued enrollment in federal programs such as CRP, CREP, EQIP and WHIP.

     

  3. Encourage the use of retention or detention basins in developing areas, and provide education on rain gardens and rain barrels to residential stakeholders.

     

  4. Continued educational programs, such as workshops, field days, tours, etc. on the following (but not limited to) topics:

    1. Stormwater drain protection
    2. Preferential pathways for liquid manure
    3. Discourage littering
    4. Discourage open burning along streams/ditches

     

  5. Continue to work with other local interest groups to secure land through direct land purchase or purchase of conservation easements with deed restrictions for development rights to protect or restore natural areas and green space in the watershed.

     

  6. Although dredging is a maintenance activity, it is encouraged that dredging be completed on a much larger scale once this watershed action plan is fully implemented. Current dredging activities are not nearly enough to remove all sediment that has already settled in the lake.

     

  7. Conduct surveys of local farmers regarding their use of starter fertilizer to determine and educate on the need of starter fertilizer based on soil nutrient levels.

     

  8. Continue investigation and pursue funds for logical in-lake treatment systems

     

  9. Continue investigation and pursue funds for in-stream sediment trapping systems

 

 

The Mercer SWCD prohibits discrimination in any of its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.