SYRACUSE — Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has been presented a $150,000 grant from the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. This matching grant will be used to further the Wawasee Inlets Nutrient Study, an initiative to provide a comprehensive analysis of the nutrient and sediment loads within the Wawasee Watershed.
The grant was funded through Northeast Indiana Conservation Partnerships & Preservations. This donation covers one-third of the needed funds to complete the three year study.
“WACF is a forward-thinking organization working hard to make a positive impact on the natural resources in their community,” stated Jody Kress, executive director, Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. “We believe supporting this groundbreaking study is in line with our mission of celebrating and preserving Indiana’s natural legacy and we hope that the community will stand beside us with matching funds.”
The WINS study was designed in early 2018 by Beth Morris and Joan Szynal, MD, WACF Board Members, under the direction of Dr. Jerry Sweeten, professor emeritus of environmental studies at Manchester University and president of ECI. This landmark study will provide scientifically derived water quality data for each Lake Wawasee tributary and prioritize allocation of targeted restoration resources.
“We are excited to have the Natural Resources Foundation as a partner in this important study,” shared Doug Yoder, WACF Board Chair. “Their investment is the first step in ensuring we have scientifically sound data and analysis that we can use to make a real difference. It also allows us to continue our collaboration with Dr. Sweeten and his exemplary team. There is no doubt that the outcome from this research will protect and preserve our watershed for generations to come.”
The testing began in the spring of 2019 The targeted duration of the project is three years. Five sophisticated sampling gauges, one each at the five inflows — Dillon Creek, Launer Creek, Turkey Creek, Papakeechie Outflow and Martin Creek — to Lake Wawasee. Samples have also been taken at the Syracuse Lake outflow of Turkey Creek, slightly past the Syracuse water control device. Over 2,000 samples are planned to be analyzed each year.
The approach is to conduct highly intensive daily sampling every four hours during April to June when agricultural production is at its greatest and 75% of the annually deposited nutrients and sediments are likely entering the watershed. Samples will be picked up daily and analyzed for phosphorus, nitrogen, suspended sediment, dissolved oxygen and other attributes. Following the peak period samples will be taken weekly and also after the first monthly rainfall.
WACF will be sharing initial findings at their Annual Lake Celebration & Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 27. The event is free to the community and all are welcome.
To learn more about this study, visit wacf.com/water-quality/inlets-nutrient-study/.
To make a donation towards the WINS study, visit WACF.com/support/ or call (574) 457-4549. Community support will guarantee this research reaches completion allowing WACF to continue their efforts to safeguard our watershed.