Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores

George Hirst

Indian Creek Watershed
February 17, 2005

We marvel at the pictures we are shown of moonscapes, or the mapping of Mars, or Saturn's rings, or the shot of the Huygens probe on Titan, Saturn's moon. We ought to marvel at the landscapes on our planet, the trees and fields, the hills and creeks and wonder at how all that came to be.

Two weeks ago I reported to you how the hills and streams came to be in Western Stark County. Last week I wrote about the work and the people who plan and carry out plans to improve and conserve the land. The lands on which we live and upon which we depend for sustenance is for today and for the future.

I need to define watersheds. Watersheds are the results of glaciers and the water that flows from glacial melt. A watershed is a land area around a creek. A watershed is the land the water from rain and snow drains down the slopes into a creek.

This last week I met with Phil St John and Jim Castagna, co chairmen of Indian Creek watershed committee and Jannifer Powelson, Resource Conservationist for The Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District.This committee, I was told, can use more members. We visited about the past, the present and the future of Indian Creek watershed.

The Indian Creek watershed begins in Henry County, actually in the vicinity of Weathersfield school and Wal Mart, meanders for approximately 22 miles south and east to where it flows into the Spoon River a mile and a half west of Duncan. The watershed is five miles wide in most places.There are a total of 20 smaller watersheds in Stark County. The Indian Creek watershed is made up of 47,000 acres, 1448 acres in forest and pasture, 1128 acres in urban uses, and 39,218 acres total tilled land.

The Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District was organized in 1943. There are documented conservation projects from that date. The use of chemicals in farming began in the 1950's. Intensive cultivation of the land , increasing in row crops and reduction of pastures, woods and hay fields, began in the 1970's.

The Indian Creek Watershed Committee first met in 1999. After doing several educational endeavors, The Indian Creek Watershed Committee decided to conduct a resource inventory. Twenty-two 160 acre sites within the watershed have been chosen at random for study. Data from all of the study will be analyzed collectively to calculate soil loss and make recommendations for the watershed. The inventory will look at the slopes as to degree and length, at soil types, crop rotation practices, tillage practices (no-till, minimum till and full tillage) waterways and other structures for erosion control and water retaining. The inventory will also record data from areas such as stream banks and gullies.

The inventory is done to collect data from randomly selected sites to represent the entire Indian Creek watershed, to locate possible sites for structures and to serve as examples of soil conservation practice.There is no judgment but a model for assistance in the preservation of the land and its water.

Information was supplied by Phillip St John and Jim Castagnas, co-chairs of watershed committee as well as Jannifer Powelson, Resource Conservationist. Landowners in the county are urged to attend committee meetings to assist in the care of the land as well as improvements of land management.

Concern for the land and improvements for the future over a sixty year period speaks well for the farmers and owners of Stark County farm land. I appreciate the my lesson in farming in Western Stark County. Identifying road signs have been placed along highway 78 identifying the watershed.

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Created by KKris. Last Modification: Friday 01 of August, 2008 17:10:00 EDT by KKris.