Archive for the ‘How Fort Wayne’ Category

River Network explains the Clean Water Act

Monday, November 28th, 2011

 Currently, the Upper Maumee drains (the first half of the Maumee that headwaters in downtown Fort Wayne from Combined & Sanitary Sewer Overflows

urban culvertRain and snowmelt discharged from combined stormwater and sewer systems can cause serious pollution in rivers and lakes in urban areas. These sewer systems were designed to capture and treat both domestic wastewater as well as stormwater runoff. But in many places development has increased beyond the capacity of combined sewer systems which causes them to periodically overflow, sending raw sewage into surface water bodies (combined sewer overflows). In areas where stormwater drains were never connected with the sanitary sewer system, raw sewage overflows can result from substantial amounts of water leaking into old pipes, pipe blockages, pipe breaks, power failures or insufficient capacity in the system. Such overflows are called sanitary sewer overflows.

Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) are leading causes of water quality impairment across the country. The EPA states that only 32 percent of communities with CSOs are implementing the minimum controls, despite a January 1997 deadline. Only 19 percent have completed their plans for controlling CSOs, and fewer than 10 percent have finished implementing CSO controls. The EPA estimates that 1,260 billion gallons of raw sewage from CSO discharges flow into our surface waters every year.

The overflows carry pollutants, including soil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses and oxygen-consuming substances. Some discharges into the system are illicit and may include used motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Throughout the country, necessary (but costly) structural improvements and better management practices are being required by the EPA to eliminate the overflows.

In Fort Wayne we have 42 discharge points that discharge on average 71 times per year.  The EPA allows 4 per year.  The “Long Term Control Plan” is Fort Wayne’s 17 year plan to reduce the sewage into local streams. You can find it here!

Using the Clean Water Act

NPDES point source permits

NPDES permits are required for combined sewer systems and sanitary sewer systems that experience overflows. These permits usually lay out compliance schedules for reducing raw sewage discharge. Find out what your state is doing about combined sewer systems and leaking sanitary sewer systems that experience overflows. Ask questions about monitoring and compliance. Citizen monitoring can identify problems and direct agency attention. Stormwater NPDES requirements to improve management of stormwater volumes can contribute to the CSO/SSO solution.

Water quality standards

Identify the existing and designated uses downstream of combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows. Which uses are the most sensitive to pollution from the overflows? To protect those uses, identify water quality criteria for bacteria, heavy metals, petroleum byproducts (PAHs), pesticides, fertilizer, bioaccumulative toxic pollutants, sediment (total suspended solids), habitat, stream flow and biology. Evaluate whether the criteria are stringent enough to protect existing and designated uses.

303(d) impaired waters list

Do the waters downstream of combined sewer overflows or sanitary sewer overflows in your watershed support uses and meet water quality criteria? If not, or if they are threatened by CSOs or SSOs, make sure they are on the 303(d) list for the appropriate pollutants, problems and threats.

Total Maximum Daily Loads

Is there a TMDL scheduled or in progress in your watershed? Are CSOs and SSOs included as sources of the impairments? Have changes to the permits, compliance schedules and proposed construction been included in the TMDL implementation plan? If not, encourage your agency to include them.

Section 319 nonpoint source control

This section of the Clean Water Act authorizes money to the states for projects that address nonpoint source pollution. In recent years, 319 money has been available to some municipalities to develop their stormwater program. Ask your state water quality agency about how to apply for a 319 grant to reduce stormwater problems in your watershed, especially those that contribute to CSOs or SSOs.

Using other laws

Safe Drinking Water Act

Is the surface water or groundwater downstream of CSOs or SSOs used or designated for drinking? If so, it is likely that drinking water concerns will provide leverage to ensure CSOs and SSOs are addressed expeditiously. Identify the risks and talk to the agency in charge of developing the Source Water Assessment for your watershed. Be sure that the CSO and SSO risks to drinking water sources are included in the assessment and considered by your drinking water provider.

Endangered Species Act

Are there threatened or endangered species in your watershed? If so, you have another tool to pressure for the elimination of CSOs and SSOs. The Endangered Species Act prohibits any activity that would result in harmful impacts to the species or its habitat.

website and previous information found here:

IDEM Public Comment Letter for Steel Dynamics Inc. new copper plant

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

September 19, 2011

This letter is to be included for the public comment period on SDI LaFarga, LLC’s air permit #003-30250-00384

We believe there is a compliance violation with Steel Dynamics’ operation at Superior Aluminum located on 14214 Edgerton rd. (326 IAC 6-4 Rule on Fugitive Dust).  We can provide video evidence to both the EPA and IDEM to prove the need for an investigation. 

IDEM referred us to information about current and expected air pollution levels at and directed us towards a map of the air quality monitors around the area. After digging for a time, I was unable to locate a map that showed anything but the monitors around nation. It is difficult to tell if the ones in our area are located in Allen County, IN.  Our area of concern is around Edgerton, Ryan, Dawkins, Bruick, Harper, Roussey, Bremer, Berthauld, Webster, Parent, Slusher Roads, and US 24.


In the 326 IAC 2-1.1-5 it reads. The commissioner shall not issue a registration, permit, modification approval, or operating permit revision:

(1)   would allow a source to cause or contribute to a violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards;

(2)   would allow a violation of a PSD maximum allowable increase;

(3)   do not assure compliance with all applicable air pollution control rules, except as provided by an enforceable compliance schedule; or

(4)   are not protective of the public

(b) The commissioner may require any source to perform an air quality analysis to demonstrate compliance with the NAAQS (Air Pollution Control Board; 326 IAC 2-1.1-5; filed Nov 25, 1998, 12:13pm:22 IR 990)

We are formally requesting that the commissioner require that an air quality analysis be completed to demonstrate compliance. The current levels of emissions in this area are unknown by the EPA, IDEM, and the general public. This information should encourage the need for an air quality analysis so that EPA and IDEM will have a benchmark number to show current levels before the operation begins with LaFarga.  These numbers can be used in the future to show an upward or downward trend of pollutants and confirm they are complying with NAAQS. We feel as though a new operation downwind from an existing polluter (Superior Aluminum Inc.) will contribute greatly to the current emission levels in the area of concern; this would not be protective of public health.

FESOP (Federally Enforceable State Operating Permit) reads under Source Definition; We are concerned this company only lists the following plants:

(a)    SDI LaFarga, LLC is located at 1640 South Ryan Rd, New Haven, Indiana 46774, Plant ID: 003-00384; and

(b)   Superior Aluminum is located at 14214 Edgerton Road, New Haven, Indiana, 46774, Plant ID: 003-00286

Steel Dynamics also has ownership of Omni Source, which is not listed as being part of the company. I would assume that if it was required for them to include Superior Aluminum as part of the company based on ownership, then Omni Source would also need to be included as being part of the company, listed under Source Definition.



SDI is paying out of pocket to move the Bandelier (#3) Ditch.  The NEW ditch will begin on Dawkins Rd., run north on Ryan Rd. and moves east on Edgerton Rd.   SDI chose to build LaFarga on and around a floodplain. Their watershed will be draining into the extended portion of the new ditch. This non-point source discharge into the ditch will then flow directly into the Maumee. This water is not being monitored.  The Maumee River remains on the 303 (d) list for impaired waterways.


Save Maumee Grassroots Organization is concerned about the lack of NPDES permits and that Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI / LaFarga LLC.)

According to data from EPA’s Permit Compliance System (as of December 2006), there are approximately 1800 major dischargers and 5000 total dischargers that have NPDES permit limits or monitoring requirements for total recoverable copper. There are over 400 major dischargers that have NPDES permit limits or monitoring requirements for dissolved copper.

Steel Dynamics has continually stated they will not be applying for an NPDES or any other straight pipe discharge permits. However, the quality of the water in Bandelier ditch (#3) will be seriously compromised if it is moved along side LaFarga, Superior Aluminum, Casad Depot, Pace Setter Finishing, and Plastics Materials of Indiana Inc. There will still be non-point source pollution and run-off water from all their impervious surfaces which will undoubtedly add trace amounts of toxic chemicals into the ditch which then drains into the Maumee River.
Until these issues are addressed with a formal investigation of Steel Dynamics Inc., to demonstrate compliance with all federal and state regulations and criteria, the company SDI LaFarga, LLC should not be considered for an air permit.

We would like IDEM to take serious reconsideration of the area chosen for this new operation. The ambient wind direction, SDI paying to move Bandelier ditch (#3), the impact of pollutants on the quality of water/air/soil around rural farm land and private wells, the current complaints levied against another SDI company, and the impact on the health of those who live near by and downwind, should all be taken into consideration when your final decision is made. I am requesting that you deny SDI LaFarga, LLC from obtaining an air permit.

SIGNED BY 23 people ~

Steel Dynamics Inc. MEETING for Building Copper Foundry in New Haven

Friday, May 13th, 2011

On April 27, Steel Dynamics Inc. held an open meeting to discuss its plan for a new copper foundry to be built in New Haven, IN.  It began with a short presentation about the site, giving details of the furnace, what routes trucks would use and so on.  Afterwards, they opened the floor for questions.  Although only a few were informed of this meeting in advance, over 150 residents came to voice their concerns over the pollution this plant will likely produce.

US 30 View of Omni Source Burning

SDI, together with OMNI Source, has run Superior Aluminum since 1998, and has many of its neighbors worried.  In April of 2010, a leak of chlorine gas forced those nearby to evacuate their homes for several days while the haz-mat was cleaned up:  At the meeting, questions were asked about the day to day problems, like noxious odors, and blue smoke blowing for miles around the plant.  One man even had video footage of this, but the members of the board refused to acknowledge these claims.  Instead of attempting to answer the concerns, or giving detail how their new plant would be different then their old one, they pled ignorance of the environmental issues at hand, and couldn’t respond to something they weren’t aware was happening.

View from Coliseum Blvd from burningBurning from Omni-Source: view from Coliseum Blvd.

They have announced a follow-up meeting on May 17, at 7pm.  It will be held at The Orchid – 11508 Lincoln Highway East, New Haven, IN.  Their express purpose for this second meeting is to discuss the problems of Superior Aluminum, currently in operation.  If SDI claims that it is not aware of the pollution it causes now, then it will be impossible for them to prevent worse contamination of the New Haven area with their new plant.  This will have a direct impact on the greater Fort Wayne area, I urge you to come and voice your opinion on this issue.

Steel Dynamics has been busy, they also would like to build a steel mill “on the river” in southern Indiana.

-Les Lesser –
Save Maumee Promoter

6th Annual Save Maumee’s EARTH DAY FUNNY VIDEO!

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Well, we are considered a good natured bunch, with a sense of humor…

Celebrity Collage

See our attempts at getting some nationwide attention!  We gave a funny shout out to Ellen DeGeneres, John Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Steven Colbert & Oprah.  We figured any media attention is good attention, even if it is a little tainted!  We think that all the trash we pull out of our Three Rivers in Fort Wayne is ridiculous and wanted to share a little satire in our Earth Day efforts.  We have been accused of being “rough around the edges and a little crass,” so we did not want to disappoint!  Remember, we are a 100% unpaid volunteer group, so you get what you pay for!  Dirty rivers, however, are no laughing matter.  Let it be very clear though, we only want clean water, clean rivers and reduced pollution and we are willing to do something about it.  It is one thing that brings us all to a consensus.  Thank you for your continued support!

Thank you to everyone who make our events a complete success….AGAIN!

The first 30 seconds are specific to the celebrity, and the rest of the 2 minute video are basically the same.

For Ellen DeGeneres Video

For John Stewart Video

For Steven Colbert Video

For Oprah Winfrey Video

For Jimmy Kimmel Video

Our official statistics for our 6th Annual Earth Day alone:

  • 2 TONS of trash removed from our rivers & riparian area and floodways
  • 480 Native Trees planted
  • 150 lbs of approved DNR native seed planted
  • 4,000 sq. ft. of erosion control mats installed
  • $1,000 dollars worth of pre-grown plants (plant plugs)
  • Raised awareness successfully for 322 men, women and children that attended our open non-house!  THANK YOU!

More Trees Removed Along Riverbanks?

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Trees along Edgewater & The Maumee River

Levee Tree Removal in Fort Wayne

It has recently come to the attention of Save Maumee that trees along the Maumee River and St. Mary’s River are indiscriminately being cut down by order of the Board of Public Works by orders of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Apparently, this area of the riverbank lies on a levee and during one of the last big floods in Fort Wayne, the riverbank and the trees fell into the water.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of regulating levees by setting the safety guidelines and according to city planners, the US ACE directed the city to “remove the trees and make repairs or lose the acceptable rating of flood protection.”  This has resulted in the removal of hundreds of trees along the riverbanks of the Maumee River – in addition to trees removed from the St. Mary’s and St. Joe Rivers as well.

Maumee River @ Edgewater Blvd.

Straight from the Board Of Public Works

“Officials in Fort Wayne say there should be no trees cut down along the city’s flood levees because there aren’t any. The levees here were built by the corps in the 1990s, and the only trees near a levee are on the river side of the structure, where they slow the current and help stabilize the levee.  ‘Every year, (Army Corps inspectors) walk every inch of those levees,’ said Bob Kennedy, city public works director. Kennedy said the tree prohibition was issued by the corps in 2007, so any trees that needed to be cut down would have already been spotted and removed.” 
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 6/14/09.

Well Mr. Kennedy, you ARE cutting down trees, hundreds of them in the past 3 weeks.  Save Maumee recognizes the importance of levee safety and does not dispute that the city needs to be able to assess and observe the levees and keep our homes safe from floods.  We also recognize that the rivers are filthy; contaminated with E. coli, Mercury, PCB’s, nutrients, phosphorous, sewage, garbage and general pollution – and we do not see the city working to correct or repair any of these issues; aside from a federal mandate to separate the sewer and storm drains, which should have been started 20 years ago.  In the world of water, vegetation coexists along rivers.  The vegetation holds soil in place when water rises and falls.  Native plants with long taproots prevent soil from being washed downstream, filter water, attract diverse species of birds and insects, slow down and absorb water as it moves quickly through the banks during times of flooding and high water, while providing shade that increases Dissolved Oxygen in the water for wildlife.  Removal of that vegetation increases soil erosion.  Removal of vegetation is another reason streambanks to fall into the river.

Maumee River @ Niagara Dr.
Tree removal and stump grinding has been a hot discussion topic around town.  Between Ash Trees being removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer invasion (equaling 24% of the tree canopy in Fort Wayne) and the Oak Trees being eaten by the Gypsy Moths; no tree is sacred from removal or damage.  Now trees are being removed due to “potential levee disturbance.”  According to a former employee of the Corps Engineer and Research Development, “There has never been a documented problem with a tree.” (MSNBC- Associated Press 6/9/2009)  “The literature on the presence of vegetation indicates that it may actually strengthen a levee,” said Andrew Levesque, senior engineer for King County Washington. Yet, the mowing down of trees in Fort Wayne, never seems to end.  The city has no plans to replace the trees elsewhere, except in mowed city/county parks, and does not see a problem with tree removal. (Board of Public Works, April 2011)

Maumee River @ Edgewater Blvd.

Hurricanes breaking levees and the affects in Fort Wayne, IN?

Tree removal on levees has been an ongoing problem around the country since Hurricane Katrina blasted through New Orleans, destroying the levees built to protect the city.  Recognizing that part of the issue in New Orleans, was the failing levee system, the US ACE has taken a fresh look at all of the levee systems in the U.S.  They have compiled a list of blanket regulations that every city or county lying in a floodplain must follow.   The US ACE tightened its regulations with specific criteria regarding structure safety and vegetation.  But, they tightened their regulations claiming there is an understanding “that levee systems commonly share the same space as water conveyance and critical ecosystems and habitats, and that working with these interests is vital in effectively managing flood risks.”  (Recommendations for a National Levee Safety Program; A Report to Congress from the National Committee on Levee Safety, 2009)

Maumee River @ Edgewater Blvd.

Yet Fort Wayne indiscriminately cuts trees out on entire riverbanks without planning to replace them anywhere – while our rivers get dirtier and turn into culverts.

What do citizens say?

Concerned citizens have contacted Save Maumee regarding the removal of these trees, filling in of flood plains (approving permits and failing to enforce fines), business vehicles leaking directly into storm drains, waste gates being open with water flushing out during times without rain, concern about removal of vegetation without plans to replant elsewhere along the river and the lack of city planning that coincides with increasing the water and ecological quality along the banks, along with other issues.  In fact, we can be bold enough to say that our organization is working to correct more than a century of neglect, degradation, and abuse on the Maumee River in Fort Wayne and have yet to see others take an active approach to STOP pollution.  We see the city cutting down trees, changing the structure of the rivers, and having a continued disregard for the community’s greatest natural assets – which also directly affects those downstream from us.  And we (Save Maumee 100% volunteers) continue to pull tires, plastic, stoves, refrigerators, etc. out of the riverbanks while also planting the trees and vegetation that actually do some good.  ALL of which has been DNR approved.  The questions remain:  1) Who decides where these trees are removed? 2) Who is advising the board and the “experts” that have been consulted? 3) Who is footing the bill for this large scale project?


BEFORE                                                                                         AFTER

Army Corps issues tree chopping orders; Policy aimed at protecting levees draws fire from locals 

The above article states that “Army Corps of Engineers are on a mission to chop down every tree in the county Columbia LA…but later settled on a few dozen.”

The corps eventually dropped the idea because of state wildlife officials complained that the policy would destroy habitat, and residents in Sacramento and elsewhere objected that it would turned the rivers into more than barren culverts.  The corps eventually dropped the idea.

So why cut down every tree indiscriminately along the levees in Fort Wayne, IN?

Lawyers have sent a letter of inquiry into the massive tree removal along local riverbanks and we eagerly await the report.  See it here: Request for Information

All this came about in the Army Corps of Engineers in 2006 due to Hurricane Katrina smashing the New Orleans levees in Aug. 2005 and now letters from ACE are making their way into local requirements.  The Corps wants a way to protect levees, yet our riverbanks have nothing to do with a hurricane and the City of New Orleans being built below sea level and the levees bursting from the pressure of a violent ocean during a hurricane event. TREES had NOTHING to do with it!

One reason that city continues to have flooding issues may have to do with the land use.  More than 85% of Indiana’s wetlands have been eliminated since the 1800s, and many forested wetlands have been lumbered for their high-value hardwood.  More than five million acres of wetlands used to exist in the state, but just over 800,000 acres remain today.   Our wetlands are nature’s kidneys and filtrate pollution as well. Water is more destructive than fire, if you keep it at bay in one part of a rip/rap levee area…it will find a way to meander somewhere else; that area may never have flooded before.  Removing trees “may contribute to the erosion of the banks.”  It definitely contributes to the fast rising and falling of water levels called flashiness.   City planning remains to be poor, even though building previously on a floodplain was not this administrations mistake.  The city/county continually ignores the importance of the ecological systems along the rivers, which also provides safety to the quality of the waterways, fish, birds, etc. Highlights of Plan-it Allen – Allen County’s Comprehensive Plan

An old wise man, spoke of an idiom.   “Watch out for people who talk out of both sides of their mouth.”  This means ~ To say different things to different people on the same subject, in order to appease the one with whom you speak.   Save Maumee uses the old cliche’ to point out water issues…
Actions always speak louder than words.

Save Maumee’s 3rd Annual ~ Canoe Clean-Up, Can YOU Clean-Up? Update

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

3rd Annual Update to Save Maumee’s Canoe Clean Up, Can YOU Clean-Up?

~Underbelly of the St. Mary’s River Uncovered~

What an interesting day THANK YOU to all Save Maumee’s 60 energetic river workers! Police, a meth amphetamine lab, batteries, full fire extinguisher & spray paint, Kids Dart, Think Smart yard sign, a sink, metal car parts, a carpeted wooden box with incubator like dials attached, 2 wallets complete with driver’s licenses, full size dead cat, Pepsi can from the 1970’s, a Cookie Monster hat, thousands of cans/bottles/Styrofoam and cigarette butts, and of course plenty of tampons and fresh water jellyfish to finish the day. We also installed 40 square feet of erosion control mats to keep soil where it belongs.

 IMG_4354 - Copy.JPG

Many questions arose as to where all the fresh water jellyfish came from…a.k.a. condoms.  Local citizens flush them down the toilet, the combined sewer systems then flush them to the river with as little as 1/10th inch of rainfall.  They are not from extracurricular activities on the rivers! Remember, what you flush down your toilets and sinks DO NOT go away, they end up in our rivers.  To clarify questions asked about Combined Sewer Overflows please read the Save Maumee’s Blog post here:

The meth lab, found on the banks of the St. Mary’s by Carrie Morris, the wife of State Senate candidate Jack Morris, and Marlin Rossiter, prompted Bloomingdale Association President to summon the police.  What did it look like? It was a yellow tube, about 1/4th inch in diameter and three feet long, attached to a plastic bottle on one end and a plastic bag to the other end.  All of this neatly wrapped up with a dozen pseudo-ephedrine cartons in a gallon size zip lock baggie.  As Carrie Morris said of the find, “It is important that we, as citizens, take on personal responsibility to look after our city.  Save Maumee was impactful today, and I recommend anyone who is concerned about the quality of life in Fort Wayne to join them in their efforts.”

Interestingly, the police were extremely concerned about the soil and ground on which the meth was being manufactured.  They recommended that HAZMAT employees from the drug task force cleanse the area.  However, after realizing the bag with the manufacturing material was wet, it was then considered remediated, the baggie and contents were returned to the pile of wet trash from the river.



Be very aware that PEOPLE live on your riverbanks in Fort Wayne.  Here should be the following understanding regarding trash and these CITIZENS. Save Maumee past and present policy.  When you find an area where someone is living on the land, please remove anything that looks like it is decimated to the point of discarding.  If a blanket, for example, looks lumped on a shore after being washed in the Maumee River, please remove it.  If it appears that your dog would love to cuddle into a warm, dry blanket please leave it exactly how you found it, this may be considered property…Please move along to find other true trash and pollution.  It is not difficult to find true rubbish on Fort Wayne’s riverbanks.


This topic came up because a volunteer approached Founder of Save Maumee, Abigail King at 5pm and said, “I feel bad because I think I took someone’s home.  I removed a blanket and it was not very dirty.  I want to put it back where I found it. I feel like I made a mistake, what should I do.”  Abigail responded, “Here is the 30 yard trash container.  You can either go through it, find the blanket and return it to the place you found it, or you can pull your warm comforter off your own bed and give it to the riverbanks.  There are many homeless people and they will find another blanket to use or a place to sleep if you decide otherwise.”  None returned to the previous site.


Save Maumee is sending blankets and sheets next week to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission as a good will gesture to honor the person who lost their possession and suggests all Fort Wayne citizens to do the same. If there is a used blanket in your closet taking up space, consider making a trip to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission at 301 W. Superior St. to donate your warm bedding. The Mission said they would graciously accept gently used items.  If you are in need because you are missing a blanket, please request one from Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.  Fall weather approaches. 

Sometimes others feel like enough is not being done for our waterways, other times people feel like the issues are so large that individuals cannot make a difference.  Smash the status quo, feel empowered!  The homeless is definitely a discussion topic and would like your feedback as to leading by example. 


Now for a few funny asides:

Les Lesser entertained us and what an entertainer! I had people comment, “I love his passion, he is playing his heart out to only a few people – you can tell he would play the same to a thousand people, or a row of dogs!”  Now that is what a musician truly should be! YOU ROCK.

 Aaron Goulet from Local Level Promotions was the first casualty of the river that day.  The first family to disembark on their canoe journey of the day, fell in the Maumee when Aaron all his children in their life-vests, eagerly anticipating their first clean-up departed and flipped as Dad stepped into the boat! Sorry wet river lovers. They dried off and tried another successful attempt!


Phi Theta Kappa – Honors Society from Purdue University brought 10 people to remove trash! Large effort by another unified group that cares about your rivers!


What was the most interesting pull out of the river? Foster found the following at one site…A Bible, 2 candles, a pair of underwear, 2 condoms, and a roll of film.  hhhmmm…


Thank you for 2 competitors working together for cleaner local rivers, Earth Adventures and Fort Wayne Outfitters / Bike Depot donated  FREE canoes for the day.  Thank you to ACRES Land Trust for the reusable water bottles and the Health Food Shoppe and Old Crown Coffee supplying snacks & coffee!


Save Maumee’s Benefit at Berlin Music Pub brought in $160! Bands included: Twisted Aversion, Rise To Fall, DV8, 11M 12D, Autovator, Blood From A Stone,  with the help of B-Rad Music Productions, Twisted Music Entertainment – THANKS to everyone to make this a fun evening for all.



Saturday October 2nd, 2010 was Save Maumee’s 2nd Annual Fox Island Seed Harvest for the Maumee


Thank you bush wackers!  You know we cannot do this without you!  All of you did such a great job the past 2 years!  The kids love it and the adults find the identification of plants valuable and educational!


2009 Stats for the Seed Harvest – 2010 Stats will be available soon – still drying, sorting and weighing.

There were 28 volunteers present in 2009 that collected approximately 29 pounds of quality seed in the 4 hour allotment!

Volunteers will be sent out to find primarily Big Blue Stem, Indian Grass, Canada Wild Rye and a little Switchgrass and Prairie Dropseed.  The grasses that are taller than your head were the ones we were seeking out and the ones that Save Maumee spends all of your hard earned money upon!  Some of the seeds will be grown in our greenhouse (growing them into plant plugs)…and the rest we will be planting on Save Maumee Earth Day, Sunday April 17, 2011.

Harvested on 9/26/09 and what will be planted on In order of AMOUNT collected


The following in blue is a price list from Heartland Restoration/Earth Source Inc. (2009) and how much plucking it ourselves saves money!

Big Bluestem: $12/LB                            Save Maumee collected approx. 10lbs = $120

Canada Wild Rye: $14/LB                      Save Maumee collected approx. 5lbs = $70

Indian Grass: $8/LB                               Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $16

Tall Iron Weed: $225/LB                         Save Maumee collected approx. 5lbs = $1,125

Wild Bergamot: $352/LB                        Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $704

Gray Headed Coneflower $105/LB          Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $210

Common Milkweed: $7/oz, $108/LB        Save Maumee collected approx. 15 ounces = $105

Switchgrass: $2/oz                                Save Maumee collected approx.   6 ounces = $12

Prairie Dropseed: $18/oz                       Save Maumee collected approx    6 ounces = $108


So how much is all of this worth in dollars saved by plucking it ourselves?

Approximately: $2,470 WORTH OF SEED!!! THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!


NEXT Spring ~April 17, 2011 Sunday ~ 6th Annual Save Maumee Earth Day

  • Plant trees, seed, plant plugs, install erosion control mats and remove garbage on the banks of the Maumee and have fun doing it with live entertainment!
  • We will have horses available this year for $25/person/hour for guided tours on the banks of the Maumee, the price INCLUDES horse poop-pick-up! We don’t want to contaminate your rivers! Cleaning up your dog’s poop on a walk will also improve water quality, so don’t forget your plastic baggie when you grab Rover’s leash! 
  • A grand event in the works with 267 participants for our Earth Day 2010, so save the date to celebrate our Earth in 2011!


Upcoming Meetings:

  • Upper Maumee Watershed Partnership meeting scheduled for October 27th in Defiance, OH Soil and Water Conservation District.  Meeting will include working with Hoosier Environmental Council for support and suggestions to progressively work toward cleaner waterways.


  • “River Summit” to be held in early 2011.  A meeting is set for October 28, 2010 at the Allen County Soil & Water Conservation District 3718 New Vision Drive from 3:00-4:30 to identify how a summit could fulfill different organizations needs and how events and activities will be arranged and what a summit hopes to accomplish. 

Being Cordial to an Urgent issue – Maplecrest Extension Bridge

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

It is ludicrous to the way that our rivers are treated.  I must speak my mind today because enforcement should be on every voters lips.  The most recent issue is the Maplecrest road extension to new SR 24 and related erosion problems.

I was sent an email August 9th by a fisherman that had stumbled upon the Maplecrest bridge project.  He told me that he was angered by the construction workers at the site and their littering along the banks.  He felt concerned they were not cleaning up their trash.  Here is the video he sent me…
Upon viewing the footage, I noticed not the trash, but the EROSION! Our approximate 200ft wide river was reduced to a trickle of its former Maumee girth.  It appeared that the construction company had no erosion control techniques in place thus causing accelerated erosion. Construction permits must include erosion control techniques – ESPECIALLY when building on a floodplain!  So I took the next step and contacted the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and requested an inspection for the site.

SWCD came to the site, reporting there were zero erosion control techniques in place and then approached the Allen County Council with findings.  County Council are in charge of the coffer that is responsible for the building the road and the hiring of the construction contractors.  Allen County Council’s Nelson Peters (hearsay) said that we have larger issues than a little soil in the water.  Nothing happened with the erosion. I repeated this information to Mitch Harper to see if he could speak to the County Council.  I was told that I was repeating hearsay. [From the Soil and Water Conservation District…?]

I filed a complaint with IDEM on August 19. I was told that it could take their department between 30-60 days to have one of their inspectors go to the site.  IDEM is also a government agency that is not allowed to view anything on YouTube.  I was assured they would speed up the process, while also mentioning that the IDEM’s department of water was not being funded and she was leaving on vacation for the next week.

This construction company had a variance to build on a floodplain, and must provide erosion control techniques to keep the soil where it belongs, OUT of your rivers squelching life! Now saying this is expensive to remediate and bad timing for an inspection is ignorant. Maplecrest extension bridge is millions over budget and was part of their permits BEFORE they broke ground. This is a floodplain and needs permits to move dirt here.  ENFORCE THE LAWS – They are for the health & safety of citizens. IDEM is showing up Sept 28!!!!- here comes IDEM – seven weeks later?  When inspected the inspections still failed.- I encourage YOU to ask someone in which one of the boxes were checked that caused a failed inspection.  hhhhmmmm, cant?

I was then spurred to write this letter to the editor….that was approved by the Journal Gazette…but never published.

Allen County Commission should be responsible for the actions of the contractors hired to build the Maplecrest extension road and adjacent bridge.  Upon inspection of the river areas, there are no erosion control techniques in place (which is part of their building permits).  The land is suffocating the stream and all of the wildlife in this area.  These facts were brought to the attention of County Commissioner, Nelson Peters, but alas there are more pending issues than a little soil in the water.  Part of the problem with our rivers is the fact that even our agents responsible for our natural resources continue to side with big business rather than the interests of the population they represent.  Permit parameters are put-in-place for the safety of people.  If Allen County continues to turn its back to the rivers and continue to not enforce permits, other areas will follow suit.  Stop the erosion NOW County Commission.  I have video of the construction of the Maplecrest road extension area and the decimation of the Maumee.  Erosion and sediment continue to be the #1 problem with our waterways, be part of the solution.  Check it out for yourself:



This is another video the fisherman had uploaded about the litter in the area as well… – beware – he used the F word at the end of the video, although Save Maumee does not endorse this language, his frustration boiled over.

This is one small example of how our laws are made for protection, but without enforcement why do we spend the money to write and pass legislation?  This is common sense….I guess it is just not that common anymore…

Nice song and dance though.




County told to control dirt

Maplecrest work inspection finds soil entering Maumee

FORT WAYNE – Inspectors say the Allen County Highway Department and contractor Primco are not following their plan to prevent soil and sediment from flowing into the Maumee River during construction of the $38 million Maplecrest Road extension.

A report from the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, the first line of defense to ensure construction sites meet stormwater regulations, determined that the project’s erosion control methods were unsatisfactory in seven out of nine categories during an inspection last week. The inspector found sediment being tracked onto nearby streets and that sediment is entering the Maumee River through roadside ditches.

“The site is fully under construction without any working sediment controls in place,” the report said.

County officials said they are complying with its erosion control plan, which was approved by the state, but plan to work with the soil and water conservation district to comply with its requirements.

But poor timing affected inspection results, said Kyle Winling, project manager for the highway department.

Contractors are about to begin planting permanent grass seed along the slopes of the new roadbed on the south end of the river and had talked about doing the same on the northern roadbeds. The dirt roadbeds and slopes will lie untouched for the next year as contractors focus on building the bridge across the river, Winling said.

Trucks had also just finished hauling in concrete beams for the bridge and dirt was added on top of a construction path made of small boulders to ensure a smoother surface for the oversized trailers. That dirt will be removed from the river’s edge, he said.

Winling didn’t know yet how much it would cost to meet the added requirements. Any additions would come as a change order to the contract with Primco, he said.

Similar changes to the erosion control plan last spring cost between $10,000 to $20,000. But planting temporary grass along the slopes and future roadbeds that stretch through the almost 20-acre construction site could be costly, Winling said.

The county and contractor Primco have until Thursday to correct the problems. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also plans to inspect the site Sept. 28, said Sharon Partridge-Hall, the construction site inspector for the soil and water conservation district.

Her report and inspection are considered preliminary steps, so the county does not face any fines. IDEM would be responsible for enforcement and investigations if the problems continue, Partridge-Hall said.

Recommended changes include building proper construction entrances and planting temporary and permanent grass seed or mulch. The county is also required to remove piles of dirt lying in ditches that run alongside Indiana 930 near Adams Center Road, where Maplecrest will be extended to. And any temporary roads leading to the river cannot be dirt, the report said.

Any areas that will lie dormant for 15 days must be seeded with temporary grass or mulch to comply with the state’s rules, she said.

Because the Maplecrest construction will have a direct effect on the river, Partridge-Hall had recommended the county beef up its plan to address stormwater runoff and erosion during an inspection this spring. A different staff member reviewed the county’s original erosion control plan, she said.

Any sediment that enters the Maumee eventually flows into the Toledo harbor at the edge of Lake Erie. Dredging the sediment that fills the harbor is a multimillion-dollar problem, Partridge-Hall said.

To reduce that sediment, work sites and farms are required to minimize the effects of rainwater, which washes soil into ditches and then into the river and eventually the harbor.

The county, which oversees and enforces stormwater control plans for private developers, has the opportunity to set the bar with the Maplecrest project, Partridge-Hall said.

In the above article I read, “Similar changes to the erosion control plan last spring cost between $10,000 to $20,000. But planting temporary grass along the slopes and future roadbeds that stretch through the almost 20-acre construction site could be costly, Winling said.

This is ridiculous! To even break ground on ANY construction project, one must have the permits in place that tell how the erosion will be dealt with, and then DO IT.  Costly WAS INCLUDED on the price of our tax dollars to build this thing properly in the first place.

Thank you for reading this…I feel strongly that many other construction sites need oversight as well.

Day at the Maumee Bay / Lake Erie

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The following is information the Erie Port Authority passed out to participants attending “A Day at the Bay” hosted by the  Upper Maumee Watershed Partnership.

 Maumee River:

  • Largest body of water emptying into the Great Lakes
  • 150 miles long
  • Shares water with the St. Marys River, St. Joseph River, Auglaize River, Little Auglaize River, Blanchard River, Tiffen River, Ottowa River

Maumee Watershed:

  • 6,586 sqare miles in Indiana, Ohio & Michigan
  • 4,000 miles of streams
  • Drains 4 million acres
  • 1.7 million people live in the watershed
  • 327 named streams
  • Supports 94 species of fish
  • 90% of Ohio’s wetlands have been drained or filled in

Great Lakes states’ 500 square miles of parking lots threaten water quality, walkability

Monday, July 5th, 2010       Great Lakes Echo –  June 17, 2010

People ask me all the time about CSO’s / SSO’s (Combined  Sewer Overflow / Sanitary Sewer Outfalls).  Did the city plan poorly for our sewers? Why would 1/12th of an inch of rain cause all of our toilets and sinks water and stormsewers mix and discharge directly into the rivers, if the city/county were not to blame?  The answer is not that complicated like many others these days.  However, solutions are very expensive.

When Fort Wayne infrastructure was built around 1912 for our sanitary sewers (toilets) and stormsewers (the grates on the streets) they were two separate systems that were connected, toward the top, by a single pipe.  The sanitary sewers have a constant flow, the storm sewers surge with rain.  Since they are connected at the top with a smaller pipe, the mix of both pipes are released from the “outfall points.”  This pipe is a fail-safe type system, so when large rain events or flooding occurred, it would discharge into the waterways instead of coming up in your house.  This is not a bad idea, considering I am a homeowner as well.  SO ~ when built all those many years ago Fort Wayne, Indiana’s population was 52,057 in 1900 and 76,320 in 1912.  If you now count how many heads are flushing their toilets, that go to the same system that was built 100 years ago with some additions, the sewers are not able to process all that.  If you count the communities surrounding Fort Wayne that uses our “settling ponds” and infrastructure in 2010 …we are approaching 350,000 with the census numbers coming out soon.   Truly, the leaders of our city 100 years ago could not realize that the population would be so large and simply failed to plan accordingly.

Currently their are 42 CSO (Combined Sewer Overflows) or SSO (Sanitary Sewer Outfalls) discharge points locally, with 38 of those with permits allowing over 1 million gallons of water per day. These CSO’s are the combined “sanitary” (toilet water) and storm-sewer water are discharged out from these points with as little as a one-twelfth inch of rainfall or snowmelt.  In 2006 Save Maumee recorded 137 of these discharges.  Currently, the City of Fort Wayne reports on average 71 discharges per year and the Federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) allows 4 discharges per year.  Remember, what you flush down your toilet truly ends up in local streams. Be conscientious.

Pavement is one more component.  So in 1912 there were definitely not as many roads, sidewalks, driveways or roof tops.   Precipitation had a chance to “soak-in” rather than “run-off”.  The natural process of filtration through grasses (NOT the mowed kind) and trees allowed the water to release slowly and filter through ground water.  Now, when it rains the water is shed by running over pavement, picking up contaminants and loose soil.  It rinses off the oil, antifreeze, salt, lawn chemicals etc. and is quickly discharged into storm-sewers and is shed as fast as possible into nearby rivers and tributaries.  New stats from this Great Lakes Echo article discusses too much pavement stresses nearby streams.  Too much pavement and fast drainage and not enough productive green space may be topics of preponderance for the next 100 years.