Vernon Fork Meetings and Events

November 29, 2023

The Vernon Fork Steering Committee met on January 15 at the Jennings County Public Library. The group continues to develop the Watershed Plan and has recently submitted several sections of the plan to the Indiana Depart. Of Environmental Management (IDEM) for review. Once the plan is reviewed, it will need approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before cost share funding can be distributed.

The group finished up the project goals and objectives. The group ran through some examples of how certain conservation practices, like cover crops, will reduce nutrients from entering our creeks and the Muscatatuck river.

The committee also discussed different ways to market the project using our logo on different items and social media.

The next watershed meeting is January 25, 2024, at 1 PM, at the Jennings Co. Public Library. Please schedule in your calendar. We will be developing the cost shared components for different conservation practices (such as cover crops, watering systems, etc.) that will be offered to land users and operators within the watershed. We will develop a ranking system based upon the information from our watershed plan.

For more information, contact the Jennings Co. SWCD at 812-346-3411 -3 or the Jackson Co. SWCD at 812-358-2367-3

September 11, 2023

The steering committee meetings are open to the public. The sixth meeting will be announced later this fall after harvest is completed. Many of the board members are farmers.

The Vernon Fork Steering Committee continues to meet and work towards completing a watershed management plan for the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River watershed basin.

The group met to work on goals that will reduce the identified pollutants that have been documented from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) most recent study, the Total Maximum Daily Load of the Vernon Fork watershed. That document was completed in 2022.

The Jennings and Jackson Counties Soil and Water Conservation District partnered together in successfully receiving a IDEM water quality grant to implement improvements on the land, which will help restore and protect the water quality in the streams and the river of the Vernon Fork Muscatatuck watershed.

All watersheds contain natural elements of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as different bacteria. As humans live and work the land, we add more nutrients and bacteria to the system, and that system can become saturated with one or more elements. Implementing a watershed plan helps reduce some of the elevated elements.

The Vernon Fork Steering Committee met for the 4th time on June 22nd at the Jennings County Public Library. The reason for the meeting was to continue to build a "Watershed Plan" for the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck watershed basin.

The group has reviewed the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's (IDEM) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, which did chemical and biological testing at 25 sites. The Steering Committee reviewed all of the results.

They then set targets for nitrogen, phosphorus, e-coli and other pollutants found from the study.

A watershed survey was conducted with a motor vehicle to identify sites where improvements can be made.

And at this past meeting, the Steering Committee has identified critical and non-critical areas within the watershed. These items are required by IDEM as part of a watershed plan. At the next meeting the Steering Committee will set goals, discuss a watershed logo and conservation practices.