By MADISSON HEINL
Communicaitons Specialist, Center for Lakes & Streams, Grace College
WINONA LAKE — The Center for Lakes & Streams recently began conducting stormwater monitoring in the Warsaw area as a partner in the Clean Waters Partnership. The CWP is an extension of The Watershed Foundation and is a collaboration of county individuals, businesses, and governmental organizations, including the City Warsaw.
The information collected through the monitoring of stormwater outfalls and stream sites in Kosciusko County will be used to evaluate levels of pollutants that can harm area waters. This is a vital component of the two-year planning process that will create a watershed management plan for the unique Warsaw area. The management plan will find sources of pollution in the community, and prescribe solutions that would make the lakes and streams of the watershed healthier.
The Center for Lakes & Streams will sample 10 stream sites throughout the Tippecanoe-Walnut Creek watershed, which covers Warsaw and surrounding rural areas that drain and flow to the Tippecanoe River and area lakes, on a biweekly basis. This sampling began in January 2016 and will continue through December 2017. The new sampling sites are in addition to the stream sites already sampled by the center around Wawasee, Tippecanoe, Winona, and Syracuse lakes.
During this study, the center is also collaborating with the Kosciusko County Health Department, which will analyze the E. coli samples collected during the study.
Sampling local waterways during storm and rainfall events is of particular importance as these events can cause large amounts of water to carry pollutants, such as nutrients, chemicals, and sediment to local lakes, streams and rivers. Sampling during storm events while water levels are higher than normal gives a more thorough analysis of potential factors that may affect county water resources.
Stormwater outfall sampling is also included in this study as part of the City of Warsaw’s Stormwater Utility efforts. “Stormwater from our city’s streets, yards, parking lots, and buildings ends up in our local lakes and streams, and our Stormwater Utility is interested in improving the quality of that water traveling through our city,” according to Mayor Joe Thallemer.
Research staff from the Center for Lakes & Streams will gather information at each site as it measures stream flow, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, water temperature, E. coli, total suspended solids, chloride, fluoride, sulfate, silica, total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, total nitrogen, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite.
The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu.