Water Quality Protection Means the World
Porter County organizations and citizens can help protect our watersheds by installing rain barrels.
Here are two opportunities to obtain rain barrels so you can become an active steward of watershed water quality:
- Water Quality Protection Workshops -- Registration closed
- Community Rain Barrel Demonstration Grant -- Homeowners associations, parks, schools, get rain barrels for your public spaces!
Rain barrels collect water from rooftops and store it for later use. Installing a rain barrel can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and improve water quality in our watersheds.
We all live in a watershed. A watershed is the area of land that drains to a specific waterbody whether it is a lake, stream or even wetland. Eventually the precipitation that falls on land will drain to nearby waters through a watershed. Watersheds are separated from other watersheds by high land points such as hills and slopes.
Watersheds are everywhere. Homes, school parking lots and even local parks play a role in adding water to the lake. For example, Sunset Park in Valparaiso, Ind. is part of the Salt Creek Watershed a subwatershed of the Lake Michigan watershed. Any precipitation that falls on the land at the park is eventually carried into Salt Creek and ultimately into Lake Michigan. And, as the rain runs off the land, it can pick up pollutants in the watershed, including trash, oils, fertilizers and pesticides.
The watershed of Lake Michigan includes all the land that drains into streams, rivers and ditches that empty into the lake. It is composed of many watersheds. In Northwest Indiana, there are six coastal watersheds that have a direct impact on the water quality and quantity of Lake Michigan. Porter County is home to parts or all of four of those watersheds: Calumet River-Frontal Lake Michigan; Deep River/Burns Waterway; East Branch-Little Calumet River; and Salt Creek.
As we develop our land and increase the amount of paved surfaces and buildings (known as impervious cover), the water cycle is changed. As impervious surfaces increase, the problems associated with stormwater quality also increase. Less rainfall and snowmelt sinks into the ground and more water flows rapidly over the land into our watersheds and ultimately Lake Michigan.
Stormwater can contain pollutants such as sediment, nutrients, bacteria, trash, oils, fertilizers and pesticides. Conventional methods of land development collect and convey stormwater quickly into a series of drains and pipes that flow directly into the closest waterbody in our watersheds with little or no water quality treatment.
Join us as we gear up to protect our limited supply of fresh water!
Funding for these program was provided in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Lake Michigan Coastal Program.