The public is invited the next meeting of the Little Calumet River East
Branch (LCEB) watershed group, from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Red
Mill County Park’s Patricia Smith Hall in LaPorte County
The purpose of the meeting will be to present the LCEB watershed areas which
are eligible for designation as “critical,” based on the assessment of the
water quality data collected by LCEB technical committee members and Save
“Critical areas” are those in a watershed which are shown to have poor water
quality, habitat, or both, and are where the watershed group will target
efforts to improve water quality. The final selection of critical areas will
also account for geospatial (digital mapping) data as well as social data
that will be collected in the near future.
A watershed is that area of land that drains to a common waterbody: a river,
lake, pond, or ocean.
The meeting will also feature a guest presentation by Robbie Sliwinski of
the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), describing the
restoration project that is happening at Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s Little
Calumet Wetlands Preserve, located in Chesterton. This USACE project will
ultimately improve the preserve’s section of LCEB floodplain, which will, in
turn, act as a natural filter for floodwater pollutants and improve water
quality before the LCEB makes it’s way into the Indiana Dunes National Park
and ultimately Lake Michigan.
Save the Dunes is currently drafting the watershed management plan to
protect and improve the River, which ultimately flows to Lake Michigan. This
process is happening with the support and input of LCEB residents, business
owners, and other stakeholders. The LCEB group needs area residents’ input
to help ensure a strong plan, so that the streams in the watershed currently
impaired by pollution can be improved.
The East Branch of the Little Calumet River begins in unincorporated LaPorte
County and then flows west through unincorporated Porter County, the towns
of Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Ogden Dunes, and Porter, and the City of
The river drains nearly 50,000 acres of forest, agriculture, and developed
lands. Some sections of the river are degraded due to pollutants such as
bacteria, sediment, and excess nutrients. “Nonetheless, the River is a great
asset to the quality of life in northwest Indiana and is a much beloved
resource for fishermen, paddlers, and those who live, work, or play in the
watershed,” Save the Dunes said.
Save the Dunes has been awarded a grant from the Indiana Department of
Environmental Management (IDEM) to coordinate the development of a watershed
management plan for the LCEB watershed. A Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant has also been obtained to coordinate
public education and outreach.