The Pigeon Creek Watershed (PCW) is 135,911 acres and is located in the northeast corner of Indiana. It begins at Cedar Swamp in Fremont, Indiana and flows generally westward for 31 miles into LaGrange County where Pigeon Creek merges with Turkey Creek and other tributaries to form the Pigeon River at the Mongo Millpond (Mongo, Indiana). The Pigeon River flows into the St. Joseph River, which discharges directly into Lake Michigan. Pigeon Creek makes up the headwaters for a significant portion of the county; therefore, maintaining its water quality is important to Steuben County and the State of Indiana.
Seventy-one percent of the PCW is located within Steuben County, with small sections extending into LaGrange (22%), DeKalb (6%), and Noble (0.5%) Counties. Within Steuben, Pigeon Creek has a tributary drainage area of approximately 124 square miles or 79,335 acres. It is mostly rural with predominantly agricultural land use and includes the communities of Angola, Ashley, and Hudson.
The main channel starts in the northeastern portion of the county east of Fremont. It drains southwest passing through the town of Pleasant Lake and then turns northwest exiting the county just north of US HWY 20 into LaGrange County. It then drains into the St. Joseph River, which flows through Elkhart, Indiana, and outlets into Lake Michigan. The watershed contains the “Chain of Lakes”: Long Lake; Golden Lake; Big and Little Bower Lake; and Hogback Lake; as well as many others.
Implementation strategies listed within the Pigeon Creek Watershed Management Plan are directly tied to meeting the standards in the 2010 Pigeon River Total Maximum Daily Load Plan.
Total Maximum Daily Load:
A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan was completed for the Pigeon Creek Watershed within Steuben and LaGrange County. The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program’s primary purpose is to assess streams, rivers and lakes that are considered impaired by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and develop reports that identify the causes of the impairment, the reductions of pollutants needed, and the actions needed to improve water quality. Impaired waters do not meet designated water quality standards and do not support one or more designated uses, such as recreation, protection of aquatic life, drinking water, and fish consumption. Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act established authority for the TMDL Program and guides states on how to develop these plans for waters that do not meet water quality standards.
For more information about the TMDL program visit the IDEM TMDL web page.
For more information about the Indiana 303(d) list visit the IDEM 303(d) web page.