Chesterton Tribune

Town to talk to county about partnering to clear log jams from the Little Calumet

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The Chesterton Stormwater Utility has recently entered discussions with the Northwest Indiana Paddlers Association about the feasibility of clearing trees and logs jamming the east branch of the Little Calumet River.

It’s a good idea, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell thinks. Not only would doing so make it easier for kayakers to recreate, it would reduce the flooding risk during heavy rain events.

Problem is, O’Dell told the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Monday night, the Little Calumet River east of the wastewater treatment plant is a regulated drain under the jurisdiction of the Porter County Drainage Board.

So—in order to obtain the necessary clearing permits from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources—the town needs to partner with the county.

“We’re not committing to anything at this point,” O’Dell said. “We just want to have discussions. We’re in the fact-finding phase right now.”

Members accordingly voted 3-0 to authorize O’Dell to get the ball rolling.

O’Dell noted that any clearing wouldn’t be done until July and August and that a lot of the work can probably be accomplished by hand, with chainsaws.

The big expense would be “moving logs and hauling them away,” O’Dell said. “We’d have to talk to (Street Commissioner) John Schnadenberg and see what the Street Department could do.”

O’Dell did say that the Porter County Drainage Board is planning to do some of its own clearing of the Little Calumet, near C.R. 600E in Pine Township, where Gov. Mitch Daniels recently transferred 1,250 acres from the Department of Correction to DNR for the purpose of establishing the state’s largest gamebird habitat area.

Call for School Art

In other business, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala announced that she’ll be inviting students at the elementary schools, at the intermediate and middle schools, and at Chesterton High School to produce works of art to be posted on a new website for the “Does Your Stream Have a Temperature?” project, being developed for science classes in the Duneland School Corporation.

As part of the project, students will use computer technology to learn about the effect of stormwater on a stream’s temperature and the effect of temperature changes on the stream’s eco-system.

Students will be able to obtain near real-time data on temperature and rainfall on the website.

One piece of art each will be selected from those submitted by elementary students, intermediate/middle school students, and CHS students, Gadzala said.


Meanwhile, members voted 3-0 to write-off $187.83 in uncollectible stormwater fees owed by folks who’ve sold their homes and left town.

2012 Budget

Members voted 3-0 to approve the 2012 Stormwater Utility budget.


•Projected revenues: $432,500.

•Projected revenues for operations: $402,500.

•Projected expenses: $402,350, including $243,000 for wages and salaries; $108,600 for pensions and benefits; $5,000 for materials and supplies; $13,500 for contractual services; $5,500 for transportation; $14,000 for MS4 education and outreach; and $12,750 for miscellaneous expenses.

•Net surplus: $150.

November in Review

In November the Stormwater Utility ran a deficit of $1,074 and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of $10,104.

Last Thought

President Tom Kopko took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank staff—O’Dell, Gadzala, Associate Town Engineer Chris Nesper—as well as his colleagues on the board, Bruce Mathias and Christine Livingston, for their hard work and a good year.



Posted 12/13/2011