It’s been 365 days since the tornado rumbled through Chesterton and things
have pretty much returned to normal.
Except, perhaps, for the thickets of trees uprooted by the twister and
dumped into the Little Calumet River as it passes through Chesterton.
The trees present no particular flooding concern, since—while the flow of
the river is slowed—the banks are nevertheless high in most places and, in
those other places where rain events may cause the river to breach its
banks, the water only swamps an undeveloped floodplain.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Except for the members of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NIPA),
which is embarking on a major project aimed at clearing a 16-mile stretch of
the Little Cal from the Heron Rookery to Burns Ditch.
Former Chesterton Town Council member Gina Darnell, who is helping the NIPA
document the obstructions in the river, appeared before the Stormwater
Management Board at its meeting Monday night basically to ask this question:
“Who’s going to do something about this or are we just going to leave it?”
Darnell noted that the obstructions do not simply pose an inconvenience to
paddlers. The slow flow of the river caused by the downed trees actually
present a water-quality issue, inasmuch as slow water is warm water and warm
water can play havoc with salmon spawning.
MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala did indicate that, at least according to her
map, the Little Calumet River is a regulated drain under the jurisdiction of
the Porter County Drainage Board, a body which Darnell said she has not yet
Darnell promised the board, however, that the NIPA project has the backing
of numerous partners—including Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore—and that
NIPA would be happy to provide the board any and all assistance in preparing
grants, writing letters of support, and that sort of thing, should the board
take an interest in pursuing the matter.
business, Gadzala gave the board a run-down on current projects:
edition of the annual Adopt-a-Beach cleanup of Coffee Creek Park is slated
for 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Registration is required and volunteers
can do so at
clicking on the red “Sign Up Now” link, choose “Indiana” and “Coffee Creek,”
and follow the directions. All volunteers are asked to sign a consent and
waiver form and parents must do so for children under 18. Waivers can be
found at www.chestertonin.org
“MS4 Program” link; click on “Additional Information” on the right.
played “Where in the Watershed is Splash” and won Chico bags, leaving around
793 left to distribute. Gadzala said that she’s working on other ideas for
the Chico bags—underwritten by Republic Services Inc.—which are handy
re-usable bags which can be tucked into purses and pockets and used for
•Gadzala and her
summer intern staffed a booth at the Porter County Fair last month, where
they provided the public with information on rain barrels.
introduced the new website for the “Let’s Talk About Poop”outreach campaign