July 2021 Newsletter

Lake Monroe
Watershed Management Plan – Taking It On the Road




“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

We have expanded our educational tools with the creation of two new banners.  Both provide quick tips on how to protect Lake Monroe by taking action at home. Many thanks to Amanda Duba for turning my chicken scratches into two beautiful graphic displays!  We enjoyed sharing information about water quality at the Monroe County Fair and will be at the Brown County Fair next week.

We are also continuing work on our application for a second Section 319 grant to fund implementation of our soon-to-be-complete watershed management plan for Lake Monroe.  Grant support would allow us to:

  • Retain our watershed coordinator.
  • Expand our education and outreach program.
  • Launch a new cost-share program to fund the installation of conservation practices like planting trees along streams to stabilize the banks, using cover crops to protect soil after the main crop is harvested, and fencing livestock away from streams.

Huge thank you to the Monroe County Stormwater Board for pledging $50,000 in matching funds.

We will be submitting our application this fall and hope to receive funding next fall (2022).

From Watershed Coordinator Maggie Sullivan

Conserving Water — Today
and For Future Generations

Residents of Bloomington and surrounding communities are fortunate to have a reliable drinking water source in Lake Monroe.

That hasn’t always been the case. In fact, Bloomington faced water scarcity issues before the construction of Lake Monroe in the mid-1960s.

The World Resources Institute reported that total water usage in the U.S. grew by 600% in the last 50 years. If that rate of growth continues over the next 50 years, it’s not difficult to understand the importance of conserving our valuable water resource.

There are many simple steps that homeowners can take to reduce water intake to both conserve the resource and reduce their water bills.

As other areas of the country struggle with drought and diminishing water resources, you might like to read the link below, about how you can reduce water usage and preserve this resource we are fortunate to have in our community.


Richard Harris, FLM board member

Our Hike in Yellowwood

When thinking about Lake Monroe and its surrounding watershed, Yellowwood State Forest is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. However, the forest and its centerpiece jewel, Yellowwood Lake, drain into Jackson Creek, a tributary of the north fork of the Salt Creek — a primary source of Lake Monroe.

In late May, Friends of Lake Monroe led a small group hike into the heart of Yellowwood. The goal was to explore a beautiful part of our watershed while having fun and getting some exercise.

We met near the end of Sewell Road. The plan was to hike two miles down to the lake and back, following the Tecumseh-Scarce O Fat Trail.

While many might reach the lake in under an hour, there was much to see. Birds, trees, flowers, and bugs all had to be identified and wait! — there’s a toad! We also stopped to note evidence of logging, take in the scenery, and contemplate a large boulder that was mysteriously lodged a hundred or so feet up in a tree.

By the time we reached the lake one hour had turned into two. After admiring views of the lake, some took the truck that one of the hikers had strategically parked at the dam back to the start, while the rest of us hiked back.

We reconvened back at the start, where we enjoyed refreshments and made tentative plans for a repeat in the fall.

Contributed by Jim Krause.

Shoreline Cleanup for
Sycamore Land Trust

On a beautiful, hazy July evening five FLM volunteers kayaked from the Cutright boat ramp across to the Sycamore Land Trust’s Amy Weingarten Peninsula to clean up shoreline trash.

Richard Harris, Dash Ruthenburg, Sara Lipshutz, Sean Bobay and Keith Bobay spent two hours on the lake in and out of their kayaks for this first SLT-FLM joint event.

Rob McRae, Land Preservation Director for Sycamore, joined the volunteers from the peninsula’s Whitehead Trail.

The Friends of Lake Monroe and the Sycamore Land Trust look forward to future collaborations preserving and enhancing the Amy Branigan Peninsula.

FLM Volunteers
Pick Up Lake Monroe Shoreline

IU students Amanda Christophe and Harry Curtis, along with Friends of Lake Monroe Volunteer Coordinator Keith Bobay participated in FLM’s monthly shoreline cleanup at the Paynetown State Recreation Area on June 17th.

The monthly cleanups are conducted as part of the DNR’s Adopt-A-Shoreline program at Lake Monroe. This is a great way to meet other members while supporting the lake we all love by cleaning up trash.

Please register on our events page so that we can notify you of any changes in the event of inclement weather: https://friendsoflakemonroe.org/events/.

Participants meet at the Recreation Area’s campground store. Be sure to tell the gate attendant that you are participating in the cleanup to get free admission to the property.

Rugged shoes and gloves are recommended. Kids under 16 need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Dates for coming shoreline cleanups:

Thursday August 19, 6 pm
Thursday September 16, 6 pm
Sunday October 17, 2 pm
Sunday November 14, 2 pm

Lake Monroe Watershed
Bus Tour

“Make some new friends as you get to know your watershed”

Sponsored by Friends of Lake Monroe

Saturday, October 2, 2021, 10 am-2 pm
Sunday, October 3, 2021, 2 pm-6 pm

(See below for a survey of preferences regarding the best date.)

Have you ever wondered what comprises the Lake Monroe watershed? Join us to make new friends as we:

Explore the serene wetlands of Stillwater Marsh.
View the dense forests which surround scenic Yellowwood dam.
Gain an understanding about erosion management as we travel the verdant pastures of Green Valley Road.
Explore Stone Head’s delightful gardens as you witness and learn about conservation management.
Find out what an emergency spillway is for.
Experience the power of water as it exits Monroe Lake.
And enjoy several other highlights enroute.

The tour will include as speakers Sherry Mitchell-Bruker (founder of FLM), Maggie Sullivan (FLM watershed coordinator), and other speakers at the sites.

Cap it off with delicious homemade desserts and a beverage of choice.

Please respond to a survey using the link below so we can assess interest in this tour.

Lake Monroe Watershed Bus Tour

Responding to the survey puts you under no obligation to participate, but the results will help us determine the day and time that work best, and how large a vehicle is needed.

“Bloomington climate trends
could mean wetter summers,
higher lake levels”

The B Square Bulletin, written by Bloomington journalist Dave Askins, ran on July 23rd an article about climate trends and Lake Monroe.

The article notes recent increases in rainfall and the projection for more rain in the decades ahead, and checks with experts about possible impacts on Lake Monroe.

See the article, which includes the chart above, in the B Square Bulletin’s website:


Thanks to Dave Askins for this reporting.

Report: “Lake Monroe beaches, public fishing docks
still closed over flooding”

In the here and now, the impact of recent heavy rainfall on Lake Monroe was reported by Carol Kugler in The Herald-Times (subscription may be required).


Ways To Get Involved With FLM

Become a Member!

For those interested in financially supporting our work, memberships are available at the individual ($25), family ($45), supporting ($100), and sustaining ($250) levels.


Donations can be made on our website at www.friendsoflakemonroe.org.

Participate in the Monthly Meetings!

Our public meetings have usually been held in Bloomington at the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave.  We have suspended public meetings in the interests of social distancing, but once we are able to resume we will announce the meeting and hope to see you!

Join One of FLM’s Committees!

We are looking for volunteers to serve on these committees.

Development: (Co-chairs Mary Madore and Jim Krause) fundraising, membership, volunteer program, marketing, outreach, public relations, media, communications, events.

Governance:  (Chair Cheryl Munson) evaluation, monitoring executive director, succession planning, nominating committee, strategic plan, annual report, by-laws, some contracts.

Finance: (Chair Richard Harris) tracking money spent, some contracts.

Programs: (Chair Sherry Mitchell-Bruker) tracking legislation,  science and other programs.

Clean the Lake!

Get together with friends at the lakeshore for our monthly contribution to picking up harmful plastics and other debris.

Share Your Enjoyment of the Lake!

Share a picture of Lake Monroe to show its beauty and to celebrate people enjoying and maintaining it.

Share events and news on our Facebook page: “Friends of Lake Monroe.”  Over 400 users have “Liked” our page!

Upcoming Events

Check FLM’s website for future opportunities, including monthly shoreline cleanup get-togethers.

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