About the Project
In fall 2019, Friends of Lake Monroe received 319 grant funding from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe. This two-year project will examine problems facing the lake, quantify their magnitude, identify their source(s), and determine a strategy for addressing them. Along the way, the project will create a coalition of organizations and individuals who are committed to working together to implement the plan. Additional initiatives will focus on public engagement and education. The official Watershed Management Plan for Lake Monroe will be published in January 2022.
In addition to the grant funding, this project was made possible by financial support from the Monroe County Stormwater Board, the City of Bloomington Utilities Service Board, City of Bloomington Office of Economic and Sustainable Development and Sassafras Audubon Society.
Watershed work is highly collaborative in nature and we are grateful for the support and involvement of the organizations listed below.
- City of Bloomington Utilities
- Monroe County Stormwater Board
- City of Bloomington Office of Economic and Sustainable Development
- Sassafras Audubon Society
- The Nature Conservancy
- Brown County Soil & Water Conservation District
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- United States Forest Service
- United States Army Corps of Engineers
- League of Women Voters Brown County
- League of Women Voters Bloomington-Monroe County
- Salt Creek Preservation Group
- Conservation Law Center
- Monroe County Planning Department
- Monroe County Public Works
- IU Media School
- The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
- Indiana Department of Environmental Management
- IU Chemistry
- IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
- Indiana Geological & Water Survey
- Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District
- Visit Bloomington
- Fourwinds Lakeside Inn & Marina
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Writing a watershed management plan is a two-year project with multiple components.
- Soliciting stakeholder input. At the launch of the project, Friends of Lake Monroe held two community forums to identify community concerns about Lake Monroe and its watershed. Additional opportunities for public comment will be held throughout the process in the form of public meetings and newsletter updates.
- Compiling existing data. What do we already know about the Lake Monroe watershed? What can we learn from the topography, land use, previous studies, and other available information?
- Collecting and analyzing water samples. This portion of the project is being led by the Indiana University Limnology Lab (part of the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs).
- The IU Limnology Lab will collect and analyze water samples monthly from April 2020 through March 2021 from four streams that feed into Lake Monroe (North Fork Salt Creek, Middle Fork Salt Creek, South Fork Salt Creek, Crooked Creek) and from the tailwaters of Lake Monroe.
- The IU Limnology Lab will collect and analyze lake samples from three locations within the lake monthly during the summer.
- Volunteer citizen scientists will collect water samples from over 100 stream sites throughout the watershed in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 which will be analyzed by the IU Limnology Lab and the City of Bloomington Utilities.
- Gathering observational data. The watershed coordinator will be working with volunteers and landowners to gather data about streams in the watershed. Visual inspections will be used to evaluate levels of erosion, the size of riparian buffers, land use, and any potential concerns.
- Building a coalition. The creation of a watershed management plan will be guided by a steering committee with members who represent a multitude of stakeholder groups within the watershed. Some examples include Soil & Water Conservation Districts, local businesses, local governments, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana University, the United States Forest Service, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The steering committee and the watershed coordinator will also work to identify organizations and landowners who are interested in participating in the implementation of the plan.
- Educating the public. A big component of the project is educating the public about the importance of watershed protection. This will be done through presentations at community events, watershed tours, newspaper articles, and the installation of roadside signage to designate the boundaries of the Lake Monroe watershed.
The project was launched in October 2019 and has a completion date of January 2022.
- Friends of Lake Monroe Public Meetings – Quarterly on the third Wednesday of the month, beginning in October (1st month of each new quarter – January, April, July, October). See All Events here
- Spring Watershed Sampling Blitz – April 2, 2021. Volunteers are needed to help collect water samples at over 100 stream locations throughout the Lake Monroe watershed (Monroe, Brown, and Jackson counties). These samples will be used to help give a snapshot of the watershed and compare water quality in different streams.
- Watershed Tour – June, 2021. Explore the Lake Monroe watershed, stopping at all three main tributaries to the lake (North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork), as well as the North Fork Wildlife Refuge and the Monroe Lake Dam in order to understand the size and diversity of the watershed.
Want to learn more about the project? Interested in volunteering for a water sampling blitz? Please reach out to watershed coordinator Maggie Sullivan.
Maggie Sullivan is a professional engineer and an experienced community organizer. She has six years of experience as an environmental consultant, five years of experience supporting local agriculture, and worked for two years as an environmental educator. Her volunteer service includes over ten years serving as board president of various non-profits, most recently with Bloomingfoods. She is also a lifelong Girl Scout, having just finished her first year as a Daisy Troop Leader.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to bring together stakeholders from throughout the watershed to develop a community-supported plan of action for improving water quality in Lake Monroe. I would love to meet with anyone with an interest in this project.”
Maggie Sullivan, Lake Monroe Watershed Coordinator
Phone: (812) 558-0217
Location: Indiana Geological and Water Survey
420 North Walnut Street in Bloomington
Hours: Please call to make an appointment