Vernon Fork

The Jennings County Soil and Water Conservation District was successful in obtaining a 319 Water Quality Grant for the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River watershed. The grant follows up on a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study completed last year by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

This grant provides technical, educational, and financial assistance towards improving the water quality of the most impacted tributaries within the entire Vernon Fork of Muscatatuck watershed. A watershed is the area that when it rains and the water starts to move across the land it runs downhill or across a slope heading into a ditch, then creek, and eventually the Muscatatuck River. Everyone lives in a watershed. (See the attached ►map of the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck.)

Starting in February 2023, a small steering committee of local landowners and land users from both Jennings and Jackson counties have met 3 times as they continue to build a watershed plan. The plan will identify critical areas where financial assistance will be offered to install conservation practices that will help improve protect our water in the watershed. The plan will take 15 more months and will be approved by EPA.

The purpose of this project is to keep our water quality as clean as possible from e-coli, sediment, fertilizers, and other pollutants that go into our creeks and river. Conservation practices such as cover crops, pasture management, hay and pasture seeding are some examples that keep the topsoil protected which holds nutrients.

This project is a team event with both the Jennings and Jackson Co. SWCDs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, SEPAC, Friends of Muscatatuck River Society, and local farmers work together. Once the watershed plan is completed, an education and cost share component will be developed. For more information contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.