SYRACUSE — An upcoming project by Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation will benefit more than Lake Wawasee. The neighbors, farmers and Wawasee Middle School will also reap the benefits.
Work will soon begin to improve drainage issues between Wawasee Middle School and CR 800E, known as the Martin Creek Drainage Project. This includes drainage from the school, through the WACF Thorpe sediment basin, also known as Pam’s Pond named after WACF board member Pam Schumm, to CR 800E. This project is a partnership between Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, the neighbors and Wawasee Community School Corp., with a partial funding grant from Kosciusko County Community Foundation.
Heather Harwood, WACF executive director, explained the Martin Creek drainage basin has been on the conservancy’s radar for years. It’s a large subwatershed (347 acres) flowing into the Martin Pond and Leeland Channel. Big rain events can cause run-off problems.
Starting in 2004, with an IDNR LARE grant, a sediment basin at the outflow of Martin Creek into Leeland Channel was completed. Then, upstream, in 2008 Martin Pond was restored. In 2014, with a Great Lakes Commission Grant, Pam’s Pond was built allowing the water from the upstream field and middle school to slow and settle out. The next step for improving the Martin Creek drainage is the installation of a sub-surface drainage tile and a water control structure.
The structure and sub-surface outlet tile are designed to provide temporary water detention upstream of CR 800E, thus allowing additional time for sediment and related nutrients to filter from the runoff. The proposed improvements to the Martin Creek Drain is, yet, another step toward solving drainage and runoff issues in the Martin Creek Watershed. WACF will continue to investigate and pursue other projects to make further water quality improvements to the watershed.
Harwood stated the general concept designed by S&L Environmental is to place a new tile coming from WMS to Pam’s Pond large enough to provide sub-surface drainage and serve as the outlet for the existing detention basins. The 24-inch water control structure will convey some of the runoff downstream under CR 800E and then outlet near the Martin Pond. An emergency spillway will be installed for runoff overflow during significant storm events.
There are three sub-watersheds that flow into that area, totaling 347 acres. The first sub-watershed is located on the west side of SR 13 that totals 119 acres. Water from this watershed flows under SR 13 through a culvert. The two remaining sub-watersheds are located east of SR 13. Wawasee Middle School and an agricultural field are located in one sub-watershed, that totals 184 acres. The third watershed, northeast of the school property, totals 44 acres.
WACF purchased the Thorpe property, with access from CR 1000N, in 2012. It was purchased to develop a best management practice for reducing sediment and controlling stormwater in the Martin Creek drainage system. This project has been undertaken by the WACF, with a grant from the Community Foundation.