GOSHEN — Do you live, work, farm or play in the Lower Elkhart River Drainage? If you reside in northern Kosciusko County you could be a part of that watershed.
A new project focused on assessing, protecting and improving water quality; engaging individuals interested in the Lower Elkhart River Drainage; and developing a step-wise plan for the Lower Elkhart River Drainage will host its first public drop-in meeting from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at the Shrock Pavilion at Shanklin Park, 411 W. Plymouth, Goshen.
The public is invited to drop in and share their perspectives on the Elkhart River, its lakes, streams and watershed and any suggestions they have on water quality or quantity, land use, stream and lake quality, recreation or other topics.
While the Upper Elkhart River Watershed Project is a year into its work, additional planning efforts are just beginning in the lower portion of the Elkhart River Watershed. RSVP with Sara Peel at [email protected] or (765) 337-9100.
The project is funded through an Indiana Department of Environmental Management Section 205j Water Quality Planning Program Grant received by the City of Goshen, the Elkhart River Restoration Association and its partners. The $154,725 grant will lay the foundation for future, voluntary, on-the-ground conservation implementation efforts.
Peel, project coordinator, said, “The Lower Elkhart River Project is structured to allow community input on what they want to see happen in terms of regional planning to improve water quality within the Lower Elkhart River Drainage. These efforts will include the initial project launch meeting as well as volunteer water quality monitoring, stream clean-up events, educational opportunities, local tours and more.”
More than 30 community agencies and organizations are supporting this effort. These groups include: City of Goshen Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, Elkhart County Commissioners, City of Nappanee MS4, Elkhart County MS4, Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District, Elkhart County Surveyor’s Office, Elkhart River Restoration Association, Goshen College, Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District, Kosciusko County Surveyor’s Office, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Purdue Extension — Elkhart County, Purdue Extension — Kosciusko County, Purdue Extension – Noble County, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Lake Papakeechie, Noble County Building Inspector, Noble County Commissioners, Noble County EMA, Noble County Surveyor’s Office, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Dewart Lake Improvement Association, St. Joseph River Basin Commission, Cities of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and more.
The project is currently in its initial stages of gathering data and information, developing the project steering committee and coordinating the gathering of public opinion. If you are interested in participating in this project, contact Peel at [email protected] or Jason Kaufman with the City of Goshen at [email protected].