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The purpose of this project is to investigate land use and water quality issues within the Little Deer Creek Headwaters watershed, identify potential water quality problems and develop strategies for solving these problems.
The Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) identified the potential for water quality problems in the Little Deer Creek Headwaters watershed in 2001. The SWCD was concerned about the concentration of livestock in the watershed and potential nonpoint source pollution from the large amount of cropped acreage. Adding to these concerns was the fact that this watershed empties into Deer Creek which is listed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) as an impaired waterbody.
The SWCD received a 205j watershed planning grant from IDEM and the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2003. Stakeholders in the Little Deer Creek Headwaters watershed were contacted by the SWCD and met in April 2003 to form the stakeholder advisory committee. This committee had representation from farm operators, rural residents not on farms, and interested citizens, including the Wildcat Guardians, a local citizens group dedicated to protecting Wildcat Creek. The SWCD board served as the steering committee for the project and met in conjunction with the monthly board meeting.
At the initial stakeholder meeting, participants voiced the following concerns: drainage, ditch maintenance, soil erosion, development, chemicals from farms and homes, drinking water, septic systems, dumping, education, storm runoff from farms, homes, and roads, economics, and wildlife habitat. Some of these concerns were also expressed directly to the watershed coordinator and in written responses to a survey the SWCD mailed to stakeholders. Stakeholder meetings were held every other month. At each meeting a selected topic was discussed along with possible solutions to potential water quality problems.