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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Environment - "Mix of plans weighed for watersheds at Eagle Marsh"

Dan Stockman reports today for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in a long story that begins:

FORT WAYNE – Construction on a multimillion-dollar project to physically separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds in Eagle Marsh could begin next summer.

The Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study Newsletter says federal officials have been doing extensive computer modeling of the complicated water flows in the area and found that their proposed solution should not cause further flooding.

Fort Wayne sits along a continental divide, which led to its nickname as the Summit City: The eastern half of Eagle Marsh, on the city’s southwest side, drains into the Great Lakes by way of Junk Ditch, the St. Marys River and the Maumee River. The western half of the marsh drains into the Mississippi River by way of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch, the Little River, the Wabash River and the Ohio River.

When there are floods in Fort Wayne, Junk Ditch can flow backward, flooding overland through Eagle Marsh and into the Graham-McCulloch Ditch, allowing species to move from one basin to the other, including Asian carp, a huge, voracious fish that has invaded the Mississippi River system. Also called the Snakehead, officials fear that if it gets into the Great Lakes, it could devastate the sport fishing industry there. To prevent this, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources built a temporary fence across the marsh in 2010.

Federal officials announced in August they had narrowed the options they were studying to two: Reconstructing an existing berm along the Graham-McCulloch Ditch at a cost of $5.5 million, and a similar, but more ambitious plan that would reconstruct the berm, remove another berm and construct wetlands. That plan would cost $7.7 million.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 3, 2013 10:15 AM
Posted to Environment