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The Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) successfully submitted an application in 2005 for a Nonpoint Source Section 319 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to develop a watershed management plan for the Silver Creek Watershed. The Silver Creek Watershed Improvement Project began in January of 2007. The grant enabled the SWCD to conduct a diagnostic study and establish baseline data for water quality within the Silver Creek Watershed. The baseline data will allow a diverse local steering committee to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan that documents the current status of water quality, outlines a vision of the future, and will recommend a clear strategy for implementing watershed/water quality improvements. The grant also provides the SWCD with a device to stimulate community awareness of water quality and lay a foundation of watershed ownership/investment in watershed improvements while laying the groundwork for full implementation of the recommendations and action items of the plan.
A contributing factor that prompted the SWCD to take on this project was the fact that part of Silver Creek and one of its tributaries are on the IDEM 2006, 303 (d) list of impaired waters for nonpoint source pollutants. Impaired waters are defined as those that do not meet federal or state water quality standards. Impaired waters are discussed in greater detail on page 36. The SWCD believes all citizens of the watershed should be made aware of this problem and educated about ways to help eliminate this problem. Steps toward this goal will be made during the project but will need to continue long after the plan is written. That is why the plan is considered a living document intended as a guide to be used by citizens of the watershed to increase their understanding of water quality issues and help with implementation efforts.