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The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and information to Elkhart County and other entities interested in the water quality of Yellow Creek. The planning process for the Watershed Management Plan (WMP) was initiated by the Elkhart County Commissioners as part of a larger IDEM 319 Grant Project. The goal of the grant project was to address water quality issues related to problematic on-site wastewater systems. The Yellow Creek (lower) Watershed was then identified as the pilot watershed for a WMP. The vision and mission statements developed for this planning endeavor are stated below:
Vision: Improved water quality within Yellow Creek to support aquatic resources, protect public health and provide an enhanced aesthetic environment.
Mission: Provide the framework by which to reduce contaminants to the Yellow Creek (lower) Watershed and to work closely with other watershed groups whose focus is on improving the water quality within the Elkhart River and St. Joseph River Basins.
Most of the Yellow Creek (lower) Watershed is located within the unincorporated area of Elkhart County. The northern portion of the watershed is within the City of Elkhart limits, and a portion of the eastern watershed is within the City of Goshen limits. The watershed area is 4,988 acres and is primarily agricultural and residential in nature. The watershed is shown in Figure 1. A portion of the watershed is classified as an urban area (population density of 500 per square mile or greater), which will be subject to the NPDES Phase II Stormwater Regulations, as administered by IDEM through Indiana Rule 13. Yellow Creek discharges to the Elkhart River, which is tributary to the St. Joseph River that discharges into Lake Michigan. The southern portion of the watershed is primarily agricultural with some rural residential development. The eastern and northern portions of the watershed are a mixture of residential and commercial developments.