Turkey Creek Corridor Enhancement Project
Lake County, IN

Grantee: Lake County Parks Department
Basin Program Funds: $10,490
Non-federal Funds: $9,681
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 12/2005
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The Turkey Creek Corridor has several problems in its water quality which include: large sediment load and field observed erosion, E. Coli violations, significantly elevated specific conductance, elevated turbidity and temperature, low dissolved oxygen values, and a poor to very poor index of biotic integrity value.

Turkey Creek is considered a legal drain in Lake County. It drains several communities in North Central Lake County that are predominately urban with a few scattered pockets of agricultural production. Many of the issues that affect water quality are attributed to the surrounding land use and historic maintenance activities of the Lake County Drainage Board. Farmerís plant crops 10 feet from the edge of the creek, and the drainage board regularly dredges and removes all vegetation from the bank of the creek. The creek receives runoff from roads, parking lots, and lawns from nearby developments.

The Turkey Creek Enhancement Project is intended to treat all water coming from a new housing development adjacent to the creek. This will be done through a series of wetlands that are planted with native plants. During large storm events, excess water from the creek will be allowed to back up into the wetlands to help store water and allow sediment and pollutants to filter out.

The original project plan included seeding, planting, and signage for the entire 38 acre preserve. Due to the fact that the developer and the Lake County Drainage Board has not been able to have the site ready for our phase of the project, it has been necessary to scale back our proposal in order to make use of a portion of the grant monies. A narrow stretch of the preserve was planted from the edge of Turkey Creek up the bank to the proposed bike trail. We entered into an agreement with JF New & Associates to prepare and seed this 4 acre stretch of riparian corridor.

The contractor cleared all invasive woody plant material, herbicide, and directionally drilled seed for this area by the first week of November 2005. A narrow band of vegetation was left near the water's edge to help reduce erosion over the winter. This band had some of its native vegetation left, and will be cleared and planted in the spring with other funding sources. The 4 acres that were planted had herbicide applied twice before all vegetation was removed, then the area was directionally drill seeded. This is the most effective method of installing a native wet prairie seed mix because the mix is allowed to stratify over the winter, and there is less washing away of the seed. The contractor guarantees 75 to 80% germination for this area.

This planting will provide an excellent soil holding benefit as the seedlings to mature, provide color, and a food source for birds and insects. This will be a highly visible planting as the future bike trail spur will pass this area. This spring signage will be posted explaining the benefits of the wetlands, prairie, and restricted mowing practices. Lake County Parks has contracted with ADEX International to produce these signs. Maintenance of this site will be done by our natural areas staff from our nearby Oak Ridge County Park. JF New will assist the first three years to ensure seed germination, proper mowing for the first two years, and removal of invasive species as needed.

Contact: Mr. Craig Zandstra, (219) 945-0543


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150.  projects.glc.org. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner