About the Project

Lake Monroe Watershed and Subwatershed
In fall 2019, Friends of Lake Monroe received grant funding from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and US Environmental Protection Agency to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe. This two-year project studied problems facing the lake, quantified their magnitude, identified their source(s), and created a strategic action plan for addressing them. Along the way, the project built a coalition of organizations and individuals who are committed to working together to implement the plan. Additional initiatives focused on public engagement and education. The official Watershed Management Plan for Lake Monroe was completed 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

Project Overview

Writing a watershed management plan is a two-year project with multiple components.

  1. Soliciting stakeholder input. At the launch of the project, Friends of Lake Monroe held two community forums in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Brown County and the League of Women Voters of Bloomington – Monroe County to identify community concerns about Lake Monroe and its watershed.  Additional public comment was received throughout the process.
  2. Compiling existing data. Friends of Lake Monroe reviewed available data about topography, soils, land use, impaired streams, water quality, wastewater treatment, previous studies, and other available information.
  3. Collecting and analyzing water samples.  This portion of the project was led by the Indiana University Limnology Lab (part of the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs). E. coli analysis was provided by City of Bloomington Utilities and fecal contamination source analysis was provided by Scientific Methods.
    1. The IU Limnology Lab collected and analyzed 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 leaving Lake Monroe.
    2. The IU Limnology Lab collected and analyzed lake samples from three locations within Lake Monroe monthly from May 2020 through October 2020.
    3. Volunteer citizen scientists visited 125 stream sites to collect water samples and habitat data on September 18, 2020 and April 3, 2021.
    4. The IU Limnology Lab and Brown County Regional Sewer District collected 17 stream samples in April 2021 for fecal contamination source analysis.
  4. Gathering observational data. The watershed coordinator worked with volunteers and landowners to gather data about streams in the watershed. Visual inspections at 240 stream crossings were used to evaluate levels of erosion, the size of riparian buffers, land use, livestock access to streams, and other potential concerns.
  5. Building a coalition. The creation of a watershed management plan was guided by a steering committee with members who represent a multitude of stakeholder groups within the watershed.
  6. Educating the public. A big component of the project was educating the public about the importance of watershed protection. Outreach efforts included a tour of the Lake Monroe watershed, classroom lessons to over 100 students, presentations to over 100 community members, over a dozen newspaper articles, and the installation of 30 road signs to designate the boundaries of the Lake Monroe watershed.

Quarterly Updates

Friends of Lake Monroe provided regular project updates through its newsletter , public meetings, and on its blog.  Below are links to quarterly project updates:

Q9 Update – Watershed Management Plan Complete
We have reached the end of our planning process and are just about ready to publish the 2022 Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan!  This 180-page report provides an analysis of [...]
Q8 Update – Watershed Signs, Watershed Tour, and Grant Updates
Remember those road signs marking the boundaries of the Lake Monroe watershed that we started working on last summer?   Well, they are finally being posted in Monroe, Brown, Jackson, and [...]
Q7 Update – County Fairs, Grant Applications, and Data, Oh My!
We are down to the last six months of our grant-funded project to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Monroe.  I am currently juggling three different areas of focus. [...]
Q6 Update – Spring Blitz and Happy Earth Day
Spring is here!  Thank you so much to the 70+ volunteers who gathered for our Spring Lake Monroe Watershed Sampling Blitz on April 2!  The weather was chilly but we [...]
Q5 Update – State of the Watershed Plan
We are now officially halfway through the development of a Watershed Management Plan for Lake Monroe and just getting into the heart of the project.  We have compiled data from [...]
Fall 2020 Watershed Sampling Blitz – 4th Qtr Update
A huge thank you to the 70+ volunteers who gathered last Friday (September 18, 2020) for our Lake Monroe Watershed Sampling Blitz!  Our citizen scientists ranged in age from under [...]
Water Sampling Update – 3rd Quarter of Watershed Management Plan
This past quarter (May-July) the big focus has been on water sampling. One of the goals of this project is to understand the movement of nutrients and sediment through the [...]
2nd Quarter Update Part 2 – Community Concerns

Community Concerns about Lake Monroe Thank you very much to all the community members who participated in our two Lake Monroe Community Forums this winter!  These forums were held in […]

Watershed Management Plan 2nd Quarter Report

One of the first steps in developing a watershed management plan is evaluating the watershed, which is to say all the land and streams that drain into Lake Monroe.  Our […]

Lake Monroe Watershed Plan – 1st Quarter Update

My name is Maggie Sullivan and I am thrilled to be working as the Watershed Coordinator for Lake Monroe. My job over the next two years is to spearhead the […]

Contact Info

Want to learn more about the Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan or schedule a presentation for your organization? Please reach out to watershed coordinator Maggie Sullivan at watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org or 812-558-0217.

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