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The Mill Creek-Blue River Watershed is a 10-digit watershed and is located in the lower central portion of Washington County, Indiana. The watershed covers approximately 100,000 acres and includes six 12-digit sub-watersheds. There are approximately 117 miles of water in the watershed including 19.3 miles of Blue River, 17.5 miles of Blue River Middle Fork, 13.9 miles of West Fork Blue River, 7.2 miles of Mill Creek, 4.7 miles Highland Creek, 4.6 miles of Brock Creek, 3 miles of Lockwood Branch, 1.96 miles of Goose Creek, 1.02 miles of Haggatt Branch, and 43 miles of unnamed streams.
Approximately 36% of the watershed is used for pasture and hay land, 29% is forestland, 26% is cultivated cropland, 6% is open space, 1% is urban and the remaining 2% is open water and wetlands.
The City of Salem, Indiana and many residents within the Mill Creek-Blue River Watershed have the desire and passion for water quality and sought out resources for data and funding to develop a watershed management plan. They began by updating records and determining the extent of incomplete data for the many water features of historic and everyday use that affect the individuals in this area.
In the watershed community, many individuals participate in public concerns, including water quality through events, publications and public meetings. Through these examples, some concerns had come to the attention of local conservation organizations. Areas of water with possible E. coli contamination, sedimentation and excess nutrients led members of the watershed to develop a plan of action and inspired individuals to group the water quality concerns.
In August of 2008, seeing the need to address these concerns and to explore future prevention options, the White River Resource Conservation and Development initiated a process to confront these issues and take action. The development of the plan addressed the need for awareness of water quality concerns and led to the Mill Creek-Blue River Project (MCBRWP) that began in November 2010. This project was designed to develop this watershed management plan with complete water quality testing and water quality education in the watershed. The plan includes goals, defined critical areas, suggested practices, and an action register for implementation and meets the 2009 checklist.