The interest to prepare a watershed management plan (WMP) for the Stahl Ditch-Kitty Run Watershed stems from the numerous known water quality problems in the watershed and the fact that the watershed is typical of the water quality problems facing many urban-rural fringe watersheds throughout the State. At the heart of the watershed is the City of Kokomo, the 14th largest city in Indiana and home to 46,113 people. he land use in the City is predominantly impervious (roads, parking lots, roof tops, etc.) which results in the discharge of untreated stormwater directly into Wildcat Creek. This stretch of Wildcat Creek also receives the untreated wastewater discharge from 18 combined sewer overflows as well as contamination from the Continental Steel Superfund Site.
Areas surrounding the City of Kokomo are experiencing development pressures. The once rural landscape is quickly converting to suburban land uses. Changes in land use are directly linked to water quality problems including increases in bacteria levels, additions of toxic materials, increases of sediment loads, alterations of water temperature, and reductions in oxygen concentrations.
Approximately 65% of the Stahl Ditch-Kitty Run Watershed remains in agriculture use including livestock and crop production. The National Water Quality Inventory, sponsored by the USEPA, reports that agriculture nonpoint source pollution is the leading source of water quality impairments to surveyed rivers and lakes. Nutrients, pesticides, and sediment can migrate from agricultural lands to surface waters via runoff and erosion.
The Stahl Ditch-Kitty Run WMP presents the overall watershed analysis and inventory conducted by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Inc. (CBBEL), the project Steering Committee, and the public, and offers recommendations for water quality improvement, preservation, and protection. This WMP meets the requirements of the IDEM 2003 “What Needs to be in a Watershed Management Plan” Checklist.