Paper No. 16
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL MONITORING OF THE SALTCREEK WATERSHED, PORTER COUNTY, INDIANA
The Salt Creek Watershed comprises 19% (49,573 acres) of Porter County in northwest Indiana and is a subwatershed of Lake Michigan. Rapid development and urbanization of the area is impacting the volume and quality of non-point source pollution. Save the Dunes, a non-profit organization, recently developed the Salt Creek Watershed Management Plan through support from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in an effort to set goals and activities for water management and monitor water quality in this area. This project compiled water quality and discharge data from 2006-2010. Beginning in 2010, this study introduced the collection and analysis of Total Suspended Solids (TSS), organic and inorganic particles suspended in water that are known to have negative impacts on water quality and stream ecosystems. Monitoring the concentration and variability of TSS can lead to a better understanding of the sources of non-point source pollution and lead to strategies for improving or maintaining water quality. This study represents the preliminary work on evaluating the variability in TSS in correlation with the management plan. Beyond simple monitoring, the data evaluates variability in TSS spatially between sites and temporally by investigating TSS response to stream discharge. Five sites were sampled frequently from September to March, which provides new insight to the watershed’s dynamics and TSS load in the winter months. General trends emerged including TSS variations due to land use and an increase in TSS after precipitation and snowmelt.