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The Indian Creek watershed project has an interesting history. In the spring of 2001, Switzerland County Environmental Science students, under the direction of Mrs. Bonnie Fancher, developed a strong concern regarding the presence of E. coli bacteria in Indian Creek water sampling. The E. coli bacterium that was found from student sampling from Indian Creek was well above standard levels. Student concerns were taken seriously and immediately addressed by community officials from the Switzerland County Health Department, Soil and Water Conservation District and Purdue Extension Service.
An Indian Creek watershed task force of local officials, concerned citizens and students was formed to discuss and further study the water quality of Indian Creek. Numerous meetings were held over a two-year period. Additional Indian Creek water sampling was completed and data evaluated. The Indian Creek watershed task force decided that action was necessary to address concerns about Indian Creek water quality.
Terry Stephenson, coordinator for Historic Hoosier Hills Resource Conservation and Development, Inc., led the group in developing a Section 319 water quality grant application. The purpose for applying for the grant was to attain assistance in studying the Indian Creek watershed as well as to develop a watershed management plan for the watershed area. Also instrumental in the grant writing process were Joe Spiller of the Switzerland County Health Department; Tim Schwipps and Casie Auxier of the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD); Bonnie Fancher, Switzerland County High School; and Switzerland County Council member John Keeton.
The grant was finalized in December, 2003. The watershed task force was notified by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management of the grant approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency in the spring of 2004 and grant activities officially began in late November of 2004.