Meeting Notice
Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Wednesday , December 14 at 7:00 P.M. at the Middlebury Public Library
Map: http://tinyurl.com/2tygvg
At the December 14h chapter meeting Dave Arrington will speak to LECTU members. Dave is the President of LGL Natural Resource Associates and a senior wildlife ecologist. He is in charge of putting together a watershed management plan for the Little Elkhart River drainage system and then implementing best management practices. Please join us to hear an update on the progress of the Little Elkhart watershed.
Dave’s project started in 2005 with water quality testing and a land use inventory. Dave and his crew test the water quality in a variety of ways however it is the automated sampling machine that can give him data every two minutes and is recorded on a computer. The auto sampler is a very effective way to monitor the water quality and the changes it goes through during a high water event.
Dave explained that the major problem with the water quality of the Little Elkhart River is directly attributed to livestock and farming practices. The Little Elkhart River contains levels of phosphorous, nitrates and E-coli that are far above target levels. Manure run off during high water events confirms these findings.
Sediment levels in the Little Elkhart River elevate drastically during high water run off due to live stock having direct access to the river proper and the ditches that feed the river. The livestock will trample the banks causing erosion and sedimentation run off. This sedimentation of the river covers the rocks and gravel inhibiting bug life that are key to trout survival.
Dave has identified the major sources of these problems and is now in the restoration phase of the project. In his presentation Dave showed photographs of a barnyard before and after a restoration. The creek was fenced off 20 feet from the waters edge, preventing cattle direct access. Seasonal grasses were planted in the buffer to build up a natural filter between the pasture and the creek. A crossing was then constructed with fencing and lined with stones. Cattle do not like to stand on the stones and will prevent the livestock from standing directly in the water, as they often do in the heat of the summer. The stone prevents sediments from running into the creek during rains and keeps the banks intact on either side.
Dave has his work cut out for him. In the headwater area alone he has identified over fifteen miles of river and creek that will require fencing improvements like he outlined. Thanks to Dave and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of LaGrange and Elkhart Counties our home waters will see water quality improvements that will have a lasting effect.