IRISH LAKE — A gathering of a few friends in the home of Mike and Sandi Brill, 49 EMS B40A Lane, Warsaw, was held Saturday afternoon, Aug. 27, to hear about the lakes, The Watershed Foundation’s approach to solving water-quality problems and how individuals can make a difference.
A brief video was shown telling the story of Grand Lakes St. Marys in Ohio, a lake which has been closed due to high toxin levels and the work of The Watershed Foundation since 1997.
Lyn Crighton, executive director, used a funnel to demonstrate how like liquid poured into a funnel narrows down to the bottom, water from the upper watershed funnels down to the headwaters of Tippecanoe River. The Tippecanoe then flows into the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi rivers before ending in the Gulf of Mexico. The Tippecanoe River watershed spans portions of Kosciusko, Noble and Whitley counties and includes the Barbee Chain of Lakes, Lake Tippy, Webster, Crooked and Lute lakes along with 35 other lakes.
The video pointed out the threats of sediment and nutrients to local lakes and the effects. The causes of water pollution and release of algae toxins, which cause health problems.
Joe Tynen, board member, noted he was committed to preserving the lake for the next generation, through talking to people who love the lakes. Tynen, who has been at the lake his entire life, stated “Until I became an adult, living here, I never realized what we did when we were younger to pollute these lakes. Now that I know and now that I see, I’m on a mission to educate everybody how important the lakes are and what you can do to preserve them.”
Tynen and Crighton showed several maps, the first showing the 50 projects identified needing water improvement projects, which have been completed. The second map, showing green, red and yellow dots. The green dots being projects completed the past three years, the yellow showing projects underway and the red indicating projects still to start.
“We have roughly 300 projects,” said Tynen. “One-hundred eighty under control. Six years ago we completed 50-60 major projects. We did that without the help of IDEM.” Tynen explained TWF was supported by IDEM grants for a number of years. Four years ago, “IDEM said you’re adults now.” Crighton added they said “we helped you grow up and supported you since you were born.”
Without receiving IDEM funds, the TWF has turned to private donations for projects. They are also working with farmers to help stop sediment and nutrients coming into lakes and streams.
Crighton spoke about the name change, due to expanding its coverage area and to solve the identity problem that it was not about Tippy Lake, but the Tippecanoe River watershed. The center now works with 13 different lake associations in the watershed and the Center for Lakes & Streams.
Guests also heard from Ted Burnworth, board member, about the need to get people engaged to spread the word about TWF with neighbors and colleagues, donating funds and long term pledges to help knock out the red dots. He also noted memorials in the name of people who have passed away is another way as well as remembering TWF in wills and trusts.