WACF Ecology Agenda

The Ecology Committee of the WACF, headed by Beth Morris, has outlined an important and ambitious agenda. Its purpose is to address hot spots in and ecological threats to the watershed, conduct projects as needed to improve ecology of the watershed, and maintain ongoing Ecology Committee activities.

Threats/Hot Spots

  1. Invasive Species in the Lake
    • Continue current partnerships in managing/treating lake invasive species with an eye toward additional funding for treatment
    • Develop a plan to educate property owners about SSW: impact to lakes, cost of treatment, rate of SSW increase
  2. Nutrient Loading throughout Watershed
    • Farmer Partnership Development
      • Develop relationships with farmers in watershed aimed at mutual understanding.
      • Understand current and best management practices for farming, how they are being utilized in the watershed, and where opportunities exist to partner with Indiana Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service and others in encouraging their use broadly.
      • Identify projects that could lead to reduced nutrient loading (conservation easements, farming best practices, etc.) and work with partners to identify appropriate funding for their implementation.
    • Gain understanding of studies that may elucidate impact of prop stir from boats on stirring up sediment and the potential impact on increasing nutrient levels.

Projects

  1. Water Quality Monitoring
    • Develop and implement a long-term plan for monitoring the water quality of the Wawasee Area Watershed (lakes and streams) that enables statistical evaluation of data over time to assess the impact of WACF conservation efforts on water quality.
    • Knapp Lake pre/post sewer monitoring project
  2. Wetlands Management
    • Continue partnerships with DNR and WPOA regarding Ecobuoys and their appropriate placement
    • Gain understanding of what makes a healthy wetland and how to monitor WAW wetlands over time

Ongoing Committee Activities

  1. Water Quality Monitoring and Data Evaluation/Management
    • Conduct water testing
      • Indiana Clean Lakes Program (ICLP) samples for Secchi, phosphorous and chlorophyll a
      • Secchi and temperature samples throughout Ten Lakes
      • E. coli monitoring
    • Conduct and evaluate special studies according to resources available and priorities agreed upon by WACF Board and Ecology Committee
    • Maintain an ongoing collection of maps and other appropriate ecological data of the watershed.
  2. Strategic Partnerships
    • Continue to develop contacts with other organizations and agencies to further the ‘spirit of cooperation’ in achieving a healthy watershed, e.g. DNR, LARE, Soil & Water Conservation groups, St. Joe River Basin, WPOA, CLS, TWF, etc.
    • Work with the DNR/IDEM/Army Corps and others on grants and projects.
  3. Environmental Impact Assessment and Project Execution
    • Assess environmental impact of potential land acquisitions as instructed by the chairman.
    • Work with environmental companies on approved WACF projects.