Urban Erosion Control Demonstration
Allen County Soil & Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
The St. Joseph River, a major tributary to the Maumee River supplies the City
of Fort Wayne with its water supply. Each year the Fort Wayne filtration plant
must remove suspended sediment and attached nutrients to supply potable drinking
water for human consumption. Erosion on developing land is a significant contributor
to the sediment loading.
The project was a cooperative effort between state, local and private agencies.
The goal was to improve the basin's water quality by implementing erosion and
sediment control demonstrations.
Land developers, in general, have a limited understanding of
the soil erosion process and the available control practices to address erosion
problems. Current efforts by developers to control soil erosion are primarily
limited to seeding, mulching, and ineffective use of silt fences and straw bale
dams. Proven practices such as sediment traps and basins along with other low
cost erosion and sediment control practices are relatively new concepts to northeastern
Indiana. This project proposed to: 1) develop stormwater control demonstration
sites; 2) provide financial assistance (via cost-share program) to implement
innovative erosion, sediment and stormwater control practices that are not commonly
utilized in northeastern Indiana; and, 3) prepare a video for developers, contractors
and other interested organizations and individuals on these practices.
To select a recipient for the grant cost-share assistance, the Allen County
Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors reviewed the responses
of local partners that were contacted to participate in the project. In an effort
to maintain the District's goal of selecting a site which could provide maximum
longevity to the project, the District selected the Fort Wayne Christian School
for the demonstration. The school had contacted the District requesting assistance
with a severe erosion problem that had resulted from recent earthwork activities
on land adjacent to the school.
Several erosion control practices were installed on the property including proper
permanent and temporary seeding, cross-channel silt fence installation to slow
the velocity of water leaving the site, placement of several types of erosion
control matting, mulching, and the installation of a 75' long rock-lined channel
at the outfall of the project.
As part of the seeding demonstration, the project managers tried
a new approach to providing fertilization to an otherwise totally denuded site.
Working in cooperation with the City of Ft. Wayne Board of Public Works nearly
450 tons of composted sewage sludge was spread on the site and incorporated
prior to seeding. The compost material was an all natural source providing all
necessary fertilizer requirements that dramatically enhanced the organic matter
content of the soil. This increased the soil's water holding capacity, thereby
providing a greater opportunity for a successful grass establishment. A small
control area was left untreated to provide a comparison.
Students from the school played an active role in the project
providing labor for site preparation and seeding. Teachers used the project
as a learning experience for the students, instructing them on the aspects of
erosion and best management practices that can be used to alleviate its effects.
The school's administration offered its facility and the demonstration area
for use by the District and other interested groups, such as the Fort Wayne
Homebuilders Association, for use as a field day site and meeting location.
Nearly seven acres of land is now adequately protected from erosion, providing
240 to 300 tons of soil erosion savings to the Great Lakes Basin and a tremendous
learning opportunity for both youth and adults.
Contact: Greg Lake, (219) 422-3373