Tiffin River part of water quality study 2012.06.20

Written by David Green.

The lower portion of the Tiffin River (Bean Creek) is included in a study conducted by the Ohio EPA this summer to examine water quality of the Maumee River.

A major water quality study of the Maumee River mainstem—the primary downstream segment of a river—will include the two tributaries, the Tiffin and Auglaize rivers. The land draining to the Maumee River is one of the largest watersheds in Ohio, spanning 4,820 square miles and covering all or parts of 20 counties in northwest Ohio.

The study will focus on the full length of the Maumee River, from the Indiana state line to Lake Erie. The field work is the first step in a federally required study called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). A TMDL is the maximum amount of pollutants a water body can receive on a daily basis without violating water quality standards.

Ohio EPA staff will collect water samples and fish and macroinvertebrate species from June through mid-October. The physical, biological and chemical data will help determine water quality problems in the rivers and develop options for improving resource quality in degraded areas.

The Tiffin River will be studied from its mouth at the Maumee north to Brush Creek near Evansport. From previous studies, the Tiffin River watershed shows adverse impacts from channelization and other hydromodification changes; a lack of woody areas along streams; a lack of stable woody debris left in the stream channel; lethally low dissolved oxygen concentrations at night from biochemical decay; nutrient enrichment agricultural runoff, faulty wastewater treatment plants, urban stormwater and runoff fertilizer; and sedimentation from runoff.

The largest cities on the Maumee River are Defiance, Napoleon, Perrysburg, Maumee and Toledo. The majority of the watershed is cultivated crop land. Approximately 11.5 percent of the land is urban development and several communities withdraw drinking water from the Maumee River, including Bowling Green, McClure, Napoleon and Defiance.

Ohio EPA will share results of the study with communities in the watershed. The Agency relies on community input to develop watershed improvement plans. A number of public meetings will be scheduled during the watershed plan-writing process.

Ohio EPA employees carry a photo ID and will request permission from private landowners if access to their property is needed.

 For more information, contact Ohio EPA’s Public Interest Center at 614/644-2160 or go to http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/monitoring_MaumeeRiver.aspx.

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