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The Bean Blossom Creek, sometimes written as Beanblossom Creek, is a picturesque stream that drains 192.6 square miles of land in the northern half of Indiana's Monroe and Brown counties. The Bean Blossom Creek watershed drainage area is identified by the 11-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 05120202010. The headwaters lie in the northern part of Brown County and generally flow westward to the confluence with the West Fork of the White River in Monroe County, near Gosport. Lake Lemon (1650 acres) was created in the middle of the watershed by a dam built in the 1950s to provide flood control and drinking water for the City of Bloomington. Lake Lemon was used for drinking water until the 1970s. It is now primarily valued as a recreational area but still serves as a backup water supply. An earlier reservoir, Griffy Lake, is also a part of the Bean Blossom watershed. It was created in the 1920s as a drinking water reservoir, but now serves primarily recreational purposes.
Bean Blossom Creek is thought to be named for a soldier in Ketchum’s Army who drowned or nearly drowned trying to ford its floodwaters between 1810 and 1812. Historical records indicate that there were at least two individuals named Beanblossom in the army at that time. It began to appear on maps as Bean Blossom Creek (with the two-word spelling preferred) by 1812. In this document, the two-word spelling is used.
The Bean Blossom watershed is mostly forested, with scattered agricultural and rural residential land uses, and some growing urban/suburban areas near Bloomington and Ellettsville in the southwestern portion of the watershed. The Lake Lemon Conservancy District developed a Lake Lemon Watershed Management Plan in 2002 but it was focused on smaller area and more narrow set of pollutant issues than this plan. Watershed planning projects took place in the nearby Sweetwater and Yellowwood drainage basins at the same time that this Bean Blossom plan was being developed, but these are part of the Salt Creek/Lake Monroe watershed system and are not connected to the Bean Blossom watershed.
Collection of new data was beyond the scope of the current watershed planning process. However, we did review and summarize a large body of data on the watershed, including information collected earlier by the Lake Lemon Conservancy District and by IDEM.
In 2006, the IDEM conducted a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Escherichia coli (E. coli) for the Bean Blossom Creek watershed, Brown and Monroe Counties, compiling data from a variety of sources. TMDL is a pollution budget that sets a target for water quality goals. The TMDL was presented by IDEM to the public as a plan, leading to some confusion among the public and even among some our steering committee members about which process was which. The TMDL process is, in fact somewhat similar to the development of a watershed plan, but the TMDL did not address pollutants other than E. coli and did not include specific action steps.