Water quality threats to Blue River occur when excessive nutrients from fertilizer, household sewage, animal waste and contaminated stormwater enter the river via runoff. Sediment can also enter the river from land use activities that leave soil bare. The Conservancy works with willing partners from landowners to county and city governments to businesses to improve how nutrients and sediments are assimilated back into the environment before they reach our clean river.
The Nature Conservancy has helped to plant 640 acres of trees in the watershed, many of which will shade Blue River and prevent erosion from the river banks. We have focused on planting heavy-seeded tree varieties that aren’t usually the first species to come in naturally. The diversity of tree species in a reforestation promotes a wide variety of wildlife that can capitalize on the various bark structure, tree structure and fruit of the different trees.
The Blue River project has helped the City of Salem’s wastewater treatment plant to upgrade from a chemical treatment to an ultraviolet system that eliminates the need for humans to handle chemicals and also eliminates those chemicals from the sewage effluent. Freshwater mussels have responded well to this sewage treatment upgrade as young mussels are once again living in the Salem Fork of Blue River.
Currently, Cassie Hauswald is partnering with watershed groups, sewer districts, water utilities and health departments to educate homeowners within the watershed about the importance of septic system care. Septic systems are relatively easy to maintain, but are often ignored as “out of sight, out of mind”. Watch a video from the Allen County Health Department to learn more about your septic system.
Failing septic systems contaminate drinking water and local streams, including Blue River. We developed a presentation to guide a homeowner through some simple steps to septic system maintenance.
November 19, 2012