Major Agricultural project to benefit Winona Lake

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Some of the agricultural lands being upgraded at Leiter Estates.

A major, multi-faceted agricultural water quality protection project is currently underway south of Warsaw. It is TWF’s first large-scale agricultural project in the Warsaw area and aims to prevent pollution from the land flowing into Winona Lake.

The project focuses on the remediation of gully erosion on a farm that already utilizes no-till planting, cover crops, and crop rotation of corn, soybeans, and wheat to control sheet and rill erosion. Even with good conservation treatment of the cropland, gullies have formed in areas of concentrated flow towards Peterson Ditch. The largest non-farmed gully is 300 feet long, 3’ deep and 10’ wide in places and contributes large amounts of sediment to the ditch.

The sediment and associated nutrients from these gullies flow into Peterson Ditch and some may make its way to Winona Lake, creating a problematic imbalance of nutrients in the lake’s ecosystem .

This initiative will control these gullies with a system of grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, and grade stabilization structures.

Implementation of these practices will reduce runoff pollution – including 191 tons of sediment, nearly 200 pounds of phosphorus, and 380 pounds of nitrogen from leaving the farm each year. If all of this nutrient pollution were to reach Winona Lake, it could contribute to the growth of an estimated 2 million pounds of weeds and algae.

IN 2019, TWF completed the Winona Lake Healthy Shoreline Initiative at Limitless Park; however, this is the first large agricultural project the organization has implemented in their new watershed area which drains to Winona Lake.

TWF is providing technical and financial support for these conservation efforts. This $30,000 project is currently under construction and is being undertaken in partnership with TWF by the Leiter family, the Ransbottom family, the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

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