Auglaize-Flatrock Watershed Management Plan

Update:

Flatrock/Auglaize Watershed Management Plan Project Update Sept. 2020

In order to identify and substantiate resource concerns in the Flatrock
Creek watershed, the project team collected, organized, and analyzed
information on the following topics to determine relevance to the health of the
watershed. The following table contains a partial summary of the findings.

The team also collected information on the following topics which will be reported on in the next project update: sewered and unsewered communities; combined sewer overflows; land use; leaking underground storage tanks; threatened and endangered species; bank erosion; filter strip usage; water quality; livestock operations; point source dischargers; and other planning efforts.

For more information, contact Sharon Partridge at the Allen County SWCD, 260-484-5848 ext. 8430.
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The Allen County, Indiana Soil and Water Conservation District has received a Water Quality Planning Grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to develop a watershed management plan for the Flatrock Creek/ Auglaize River watershed. This watershed is located in the SE corner of Allen County, Indiana, the NE corner of Adams County, Indiana, and portions of Paulding and Van Wert Counties in Ohio. The grant period is Nov. 26, 2019 – Dec. 25, 2021.

What is a Watershed Management Plan?

A watershed management plan identifies problems and threats to water resources and develops a framework to address these issues. It is intended to be a practical tool with specific recommendations on practices to improve and sustain water quality.

Its primary purpose is to guide citizens, watershed coordinators, resource managers, policy makers, and community organizations to restore and protect water quality in the rivers, streams, and wetlands in the Flatrock/Auglaize watershed.

It is developed using a watershed planning process that includes steps to characterize existing conditions, identify and prioritize problems, define management objectives, and develop protection or remediation strategies.

This planning effort will be led by a Steering Committee comprised of local stakeholders (citizens, businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations…) who are most knowledgeable of the needs of the watershed.

Steering Committee
MembersAffiliation
Dale AndersonFarmer
Mark AndersonFarmer
Lindsey BluhmIndiana State Department of Agriculture
Tim BombaUSDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Pat BramesFarmer
Jeremy FreimuthAllen County Surveyors Office
Matt FuellingEbberts Field Seeds, Agribusiness
Ron FunkFarmer
Brent HoffmanHoffman Bulldozing & Farm Services, Inc.
Matt JarrettAllen County Surveyors Office
Greg KneubuhlerG&K Concepts, Agribusiness
Brad KohlhagenAdams County Purdue Extension Service
Greg LakeAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Austin MillerFarmer
Tom MillerAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
John NidlingerFarmer
Larry OberleyTown of Monroeville
Seth OwensVanWert County Soil & Water Conservation District
Sharon PartridgeAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Leslie RobertsonFarmer
Troy RobertsonFarmer
Ron RoyAg Plus, Agribusiness
Brooke RudicelAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Barry SchererAdams County Regional Sewer District
Courtney SchererAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Nathan SchererAdams County Health Department
Stephanie SingerThe Nature Conservancy
Scott ThompsonAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Kristi ToddIndiana Department of Environmental Management
Eugene TrabelFarmer
Patrick TroyerPaulding County Soil & Water Conservation Service
Sandy VoglewedeAdams County Soil & Water Conservation Service
Mike WerlingAllen County Soil & Water Conservation District
James WolffAllen County Purdue Extension Service

The project area covers 96,580 acres. For research and planning purposes, the total project area will be sub-divided into 5 subwatershed: Wildcat Creek; Headwaters Flatrock Creek; Bohnke Ditch; Hoffman Creek; and Brown Ditch.

For more information about the Flatrock/Auglaize Watershed Management Plan project, contact the Allen County SWCD.

June 22, 2020 Update

Flatrock/Auglaize Watershed Management Plan

The Steering Committee and staff have been collecting information about the Flatrock/Auglaize watershed and comparing it to the List of Concerns that the Steering Committee and Technical Advisors developed in their first two meetings.

Stakeholder Concerns
ConcernsRelevance
FloodingCorn and soybean fodder washing from fields plugging ditches. Unresolved issue of a limestone shelf in the Flatrock downstream of the Indiana/Ohio state line that holds back water. Lack of coordination between Indiana and Ohio drainage authorities contributes to flooding problems.
Log JamsLog jams in Ohio hold back water in the Flatrock Creek and cause flooding.
Stream/Ditch Bank ErosionPrevalent throughout the watershed especially in areas where stream/ditch banks are subject to flooding.
Need for more Water Quality ResearchTwo sub-watersheds have their headwaters in Ohio and the contribution to poor water quality from the Ohio area is unknown.
Lack of Water Quality Education/OutreachResidents unaware of resource concerns. No materials/activities to date specifically addressing the project area.
High E. coli LevelsHistoric water quality data collected at Sample Site 401 identifies 34% of E.coli reading exceed the water quality target level.
High Turbidity LevelsHistoric water quality data collected at Sample Site 401 identifies 100% of Turbidity readings exceed the water quality target level.
High Phosphorus LevelsHistoric water quality data collected at Sample Site 401 identifies 79% of Total Phosphorus readings exceed the water quality target level.
Faulty Septic SystemsFailing systems. Older homes where waste is piped straight to the streams/ditches.
Excessive Nutrients entering Streams/DitchesRunoff from farmland where manure has been land applied. Livestock access to open water. Faulty septic systems.
Excessive Sediment in Water ColumnUnbuffered agricultural runoff. Eroding stream/ditch banks.
Lack of Filter StripsUnbuffered agricultural runoff. Eroding stream/ditch banks.
No Residue/Cover on Ag FieldsOnly 10% of fields are in no-till/cover crops.
Unbuffered Tile Field InletsTile field inlets provide a direct conduit for sediment and other pollutants to flow directly into the tile system.
Barnyard RunoffStormwater picks up pollutants from barnyards and carries them to open water.
Stream/Ditches Listed as Impaired by IDEM303d listed segments for nutrients and impaired biotic communities.
  

A Windshield Survey was completed in April of 2020.  Just like it sounds, windshield surveys are done from a vehicle. This type of data collection is useful for verifying digital information and for pinpointing problem areas. Teams of two to three people drove every road in the project area looking for evidence of the concerns listed by stakeholders and technical advisors. The primary concerns that were identified are listed in the table below.

2020 Windshield Survey: Primary Concerns

CountyTotal # of Points ObservedLog JamsBank ErosionFloodingUnbuffered Field Tile Inlets
Allen1801773117
Adams130030182
Paulding274514
Van Wert2101015
Total3585864318

Windshield Survey: Other Observations

Numerous sites lack adequate filter strips adjacent to streams/ditches.

Invasive species were observed at a limited number of sites.

Illegal dumping was observed at a limited number of sites.

Improper application of livestock manure was observed at a limited number of sites.

Few sites were observed where flooding has impacted property long-term.

The project team will continue to investigate all of the items on the stakeholder List of Concerns and report back on their findings.