The St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative Partnership has three main programmatic areas:

  • We are a resource for public education and information on the watershed
  • We support the placement of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on the land through cost-sharing and the development of partnerships;  and
  • We provide watershed management planning services, including facilitation of stakeholder involvement in planning and watershed activities

Public Education and Outreach

The SJRWI is a resource for public education and information on the watershed. We maintain a database which contains current and historical water quality monitoring data.

We present or sponsor several public educational workshops annually, including the annual Tri-State Conservation Tillage Expo. This annual event is held each spring in the Auburn, Indiana, area. The Expo brings agricultural producers together with university scientists and commercial agricultural dealers to explore the latest innovative practices and equipment for conservation tillage.

The SJRWI Annual Education Meeting & Program
Held in July, the Annual Meeting brings together board members, employees, stakeholders and public officials to celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year.

Community presentations /speaker’s bureau
Presentations are made to the public upon request. This outreach to the community enables everyone to become more aware of what they can do to improve the water quality of the river and how the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative can help them achieve their goals.

  • septic system maintenance
  • fertilizers and pesticides on urban and suburban home and gardens
  • stormwater management
  • wetlands
  • rain gardens
  • native plants and water quality

Placement of Best Management Practices on the land

The St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative promotes land use practices that are environmentally and economically compatible and that improve the water quality of the St. Joseph River. We facilitate conservation practices by searching for public and private sources of funding that might help farmers and landowners implement the best management practices needed to minimize the potential for pollution.

  • Conservation tillage
  • Septic system maintenance
  • Buffers and filter strips
  • Reforestation
  • Wetland restoration
  • Environmentally friendly landscaping

Watershed Management Planning

The Initiative has been involved in watershed planning for the entire St. Joseph River as well as its sub-watersheds. We have organized stakeholders and produced watershed management plans for the Upper and Lower Cedar Creek, as well as the Lower St. Joseph and Bear Creek sub-watersheds.

A watershed management plan (WMP) is like a map. In order to know where you’re going, you need a map. In order to create a map, you need to know your territory and have some sense of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Planning involves input and involvement from the various stakeholders of the watershed, from experts to novices: landowners, land users, businesses, industry, institutions, government agencies – in short, everyone who lives, works in or uses the watershed.

Watershed plans guide stakeholders in their efforts to protect, restore, and enjoy the river and its resources. Plans provide benchmarks of the watershed, allowing us to understand where we are today. They communicate our vision, allowing us to project what we want the watershed to be in the future. And they establish our goals, so we can measure our progress.

The Initiative has produced three watershed plans to date. Our guiding document is the St. Joseph River Watershed Management Plan (2001, revised 2006).

Sub-watershed plans have been developed for the Cedar Creek (2005) and the Lower St. Joseph-Bear Creek (draft) (2007).