The Fish Lake watershed comprises 6,490 acres of LaPorte County in northwest Indiana and is situated within the headwaters of the Kankakee/Iroquois regional basin. Over the past three decades, concerns have been raised about a general increase in aquatic vegetation, lake sediment and a decline in fishing quality.
Northwater was retained by the Fish Lake Conservancy District to address lake concerns and develop the Fish Lake Chain Watershed Diagnostic Study and Plan. The study and plan was partially funded by the State of Indiana, Lake & River Enhancement Program (LARE).
Technical roles included detailed watershed characterization, water quality sampling, data mining and analysis, a custom GIS watershed landuse and pollution load model, lake sediment analysis and identification of over 50 site-specific projects throughout the watershed. The lake and watershed analysis and custom GIS model incorporated advanced geospatial analysis and helped identify the most appropriate lake and watershed management measures. Northwater collected information on watershed features using GPS and transferred this information into an extensive GIS database; a custom watershed GIS landuse layer was developed for use in pollution load modeling and watershed characterization.
Northwater also led and participated in stakeholder and public meetings, conducted a detailed field assessment of watershed conditions and coordinated and met with local landowners and stakeholders to develop implementation projects. The project was completed under a very aggressive schedule and budget and met the stringent requirements of the Indiana Lake and River Enhancement Program (LARE).
As a result of the diagnostic study, Northwater has been retained by the Conservancy District to conduct a pilot study into the possible use of bio-augmentation and aeration to break down excessive organic matter in-situ and reduce algae.