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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Indiana (Section 319I - 1994)

Indiana uses a portion of its section 319 money to fund staff in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Nonpoint Source Program. Section 319 funds are also used to fund NPS projects to alleviate NPS pollution around the state. Currently, the approximately 45 active section 319 projects include urban runoff demonstrations, cost-share programs, and wetland restoration.

Project management entails soliciting proposals, generating and tracking contracts, preparing reports and budgets, monitoring projects, and providing technical and implementation assistance. The NPS staff also coordinates NPS issues with other agencies, arranges and conducts public meetings on NPS pollution, provides aid to local communities in deriving solutions, educates and informs the public on issues, and provides technical training to agency staff.

Bank Stabilization Protects Erodible Shoreline

Wolf Lake is a natural lake surrounded by dense urbanization. Urban runoff from the surrounding areas carries sediment to the lake, severely eroding the shoreline by 0.3 meters each year. Important because of its size and location within a heavily urbanized area, Wolf Lake is primarily used for recreation such as fishing, small boating, and swimming. In addition, Wolf Lake provides one of the few remaining habitats for the silverweed (Potentilla Anserina), a state endangered plant. Wolf Lake is located in the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Ship Canal area--named one of the Great Lakes Basin's 43 areas of concerns. As part of the Grand Calumet watershed in Northwest Indiana, the area produces over 25 percent of U.S. steel and is one of the country's largest oil refining facilities.

Studies show that the area's main nonpoint source problems are caused from several sources. Urban runoff from city streets, interstate highways, and adjacent domestic or commercial properties carries various pollutants into the sewer systems and receiving streams. The entire area surrounding Wolf Lake, the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal, and the Grand Calumet River is urbanized. Contaminated sediments and atmospheric deposition-- additional pollution sources--are particularly acute because of the many industries in the area. Another pollution source is hydromodification, created by the alteration of waterways. The Grand Calumet River has been channelized and dredged in some sections, and the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal is entirely engineered. Streambank erosion--which occurs naturally from weather, runoff, or stream flow--can be intensified by land clearing practices related to farming, residential or industrial development, road building, or timber cutting. The great quantity of urban runoff in Northwest Indiana makes shoreline erosion a problem for Wolf Lake.

The Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (LCSWCD) received section 319 funds in FY 1990 and 1992 that total $145,000 to help install best management practices to protect the highly erodible shoreline. The installation of bedding stone and limestone riprap has protected more than 300 meters of shoreline. In addition, the riprap has provided good habitat for silverweed, which has expanded onto the riprap area. LCSWCD selected this BMP because of its cost- effectiveness, ability to withstand wave energy, and compatibility with the endangered silverweed. Although the bank stabilization project will help to keep contaminated soil from eroding into Wolf Lake, this project does not specifically address contaminated - sediments.

The project's success is indicated by the fact that bank erosion has stopped in the riprap areas. Expansion of the endangered silverweed at Wolf Lake is another sign of success. Based on these successes, the LCSWCD is using this BMP in other areas with similar problems.

Field Day Lets Professionals See for Themselves

Concern about urban erosion control prompted Indiana agencies to give professionals a chance to see for themselves how erosion and sediment control can be incorporated into original project plans. The project consisted of 10 demonstrations around the state to show urban erosion control, primarily in housing subdivision and commercial construction. The total cost was $130,000. FY 1991 section 319 funds contributed $41,000; Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the local SWCDs provided the remaining $89,000.

The Allen County I-469 Erosion Control Project field day and tour was the first demonstration project entirely associated with highway construction activities. Sponsored by the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and other local entities, the field day was also strongly supported by the Federal Highway Administration.

The field day and tour emphasized the importance of incorporating erosion and sediment control early by discussing project phasing, timing of installation, and erosion control practice placement. Participants saw first-hand the impact of nonstructural erosion and sediment control and observed a rain simulator illustrate the erosion process. They also saw how practices such as timely seeding, erosion control blankets, mulching, and sediment control barriers and basins can reduce sedimentation. Participants learned the vital role of economics in the battle against erosion and sediment. The tour emphasized that a developer or contractor is much more likely to adopt erosion and sediment control practices that are proven to be cost effective.

The I-469 tour attracted approximately 175 highway contractors, consultants, and government representatives. Local news media promoted the tour, and two television stations provided coverage, resulting in a local news spot.

SCS and Allen County SWCD also hosted a seminar and tour at the I-469 site for INDOT, SCS, SWCDs, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil Conservation --and some 80 representatives attended. These events have resulted in a closer working relationship between soil conservation agencies and INDOT. More importantly, INDOT has incorporated control practices into its highway projects and has revised highway project specifications manuals to reflect conservation practices gleaned from the seminars and tours.


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