- Fecal contamination from humans and animals is widespread in streams E. coli is an indicator of fecal contamination. While E. coli itself is generally not harmful, many other harmful bacteria and viruses are present in fecal matter. E. coli levels in all the 2020 Lake Monroe samples were well below the state standard of 235 CFU/100 ml (CFU = colony forming units of bacteria).
- However, historical beach sampling data shows E. coli exceedances in 2015 and 2016 ranging from 632 CFU/100 ml to >2,400 CFU/100 ml. There were multiple E. coli exceedances in streams throughout the watershed. The South Fork sub-watershed appears to be the largest contributor of E. coli. Source analysis indicates that both human and animal fecal contamination are present. This widespread contamination renders streams unsafe for swimming or wading and contributes to nutrient overloading in the lake. Potential sources include livestock manure, pet waste, wildlife manure, and septic system leachate.
- Septic system maintenance and repair can reduce nutrient and bacteria input Poorly functioning septic systems are another potential source of nutrients and bacteria. There are over 9,000 septic systems in the watershed. Many homeowners are unaware that their septic tank should be pumped and inspected about every 3 years. While a properly functioning septic system can be highly effective, another strategy to reduce potential leakage is to expand existing sewer lines and decrease the number of active septic systems.
June 9, 2022. Lake Monroe forums happening
- The Friends of Lake Monroe and the Leagues of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and Brown County will host several community forums to discuss the newly published Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan.
- The Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan, developed by the Friends of Lake Monroe, is the product of a two-year project gathering and analyzing data about the lake and its watershed. The report summarizes the available data, identifies the top threats to water quality and outlines an action plan to reduce non-point source pollution. Public input is now needed to help prioritize project implementation and to mobilize the community to take action.
- The first forum will be held on May 24 from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, 3800 E. 3rd St. in Bloomington.
- The second forum will be held on June 9 from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Brown County Public Library, 205 Locust Lane.
- The final forum will be held virtually on June 15 during the same time frame. The Zoom link will be sent in advance.
Those interested should visit docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfxdfwbSZF9P2SjskNft4U3l9iEfhk7_uan25j5Dl6M1ioFUg/viewform to register. For questions, contact Lake Monroe Watershed Coordinator Maggie Sullivan at email@example.com or 812-558-0217.
The full Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan and a shorter executive summary are available online at friendsoflakemonroe.org/watershed-plan/.
May 3, 2022. GUEST OPINION: Learn how you can protect Salt Creek, Lake Monroe at community forums Remember when volunteers collected water samples from streams across the county last April? The goal was to understand water quality draining into Lake Monroe through its tributaries.