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Featured Project: Elkhart River Watershed Sediment Reduction Program

Grantee: Elkhart River Restoration Association, Inc.
State: IN
GLRI Program Funds: $397,900
Project Year: 2011
Contact Information: Wayne Stanger

During the first year of the Elkhart River Watershed Sediment Reduction Program specific projects which were identified in the project application and work plan were targeted. Best Management Practices (BMP) were installed on three project sites resulting in soil savings of 20,256 tons over the life span of the practices. BMP's installed include: (1) 21 Grade Stabilization Structures, (2) 750 L.F. of Exclusion Fencing, and (3) 3230 L.F. of Stream Bank Stabilization consisting of Two-Stage Ditch, and Structural and Bio-Engineered bank protection.

Before and after project photos

As a result of partnerships and cooperation developed with several agencies, organizations and groups non-federal matching funds were received. The additional funds received resulted in an average of only 49% cost share expended from the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) funds for the installation of BMP's. These additional contributions will allow the installation of more BMP's and greater soil savings for the project.

Project 1 250 L.F. of open ditch was being pastured. The ditch banks were eroding due to cattle traffic utilizing the ditch as a watering area. The ditch banks were reconstructed and permanently seeded. 580 L.F. of fencing was installed to exclude the cattle. The fencing was placed 10 to 15 ft. from the top edge of the bank and seeded as a filter to reduce the potential of nutrients entering the ditch from adjacent pasture. An alternative watering system was provided for the cattle.

Project 2 A large ravine draining 20 plus acres was actively eroding. The channel bottom was eroding in depth and as a result the banks were continually sloughing. The banks were 10 to 18 ft. high and less than a 1:1 slope. The head cut of the ravine/gully was increasing in length by approximately five feet per year. Large amounts of sediment were being delivered to a permanent water body 300 ft. downstream.

A Grade Stabilization Structure with pipe outlet and some runoff retention was installed to stop the head cut and reduce the volume and velocity of runoff flowing through the target area. Bank side slopes were reconstructed to a stable grade and seeded and blanketed. A rock grade control structure was installed downstream to reduce the grade and velocity contributing to the erosion.

Project 3 Dillon Creek Stream Bank Stabilization project was a rather large project consisting of a 1.25 mile section of the creek where 30 ft. of grade resulted in high runoff velocities and thus severe and excessive bank erosion. Most of the banks were on a 1:1 slope or less and a few 8 to 15 ft. in height. Large amounts of sediment were being delivered downstream.

Nineteen in stream Grade Control Structures were installed to reduce the grade thus velocity of the runoff. Approximately 2625 L.F. of stream banks were protected from erosion by installing 1125 L.F. of two-stage ditch, 950 L.F. of rock protection and 175 L.F. of bio-engineered root wad protection.

Applications have been approved for eight additional erosion control projects. Contractors have been contracted to begin construction this fall. These projects, which consist of five Grade Stabilization Structures, 0.2 acre grassed waterway, and 1540 of Stream Bank Protection, will provide an additional 5,326 tons of soil saved over the life span of the BMP's installed.


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. GLIN Partner