Friends of Lower Muskingum River (FLMR) have been given the challenge to develop a Watershed Action Plan for the Southern Subwatershed of the Lower Muskingum River. First off, what exactly is a watershed? A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point and then joins with a larger water body, such as a river, lake, reservoir, wetland, or ocean. The "Southern Subwatershed" is an area of land totaling 57,547 acres (or 90.1 square miles) mainly within Washington County, though the northern portion of this basin extends into Jackson Township of Noble County. Geographically speaking, this watershed has a northern boundary at the headwaters of the Big Run tributary in Noble County and a southern boundary in Marietta at the Muskingum Rivers confluence with the Ohio River.
As the world population continues to climb, the need for clean, fresh water will become more and more important. The Southern Subwatershed lies within a region blessed with an ample freshwater supply. As water consumers and water recreation (e.g. boating, fishing, swimming, etc.) enthusiasts we are very fortunate to have this resource readily available. To assure all of us can enjoy this resource throughout our lifetime and through future generations, FLMR is developing a Watershed Action Plan that will guide in managing the resources of this basin.
Currently, we are conducting research to determine the causes and potential sources of pollution that are negatively impacting the surface waters within this region. Beginning this spring, FLMR will be working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program to define how much pollution exists and where it is coming from within the watershed. Our goal in gathering all of this information is to develop a management plan that will be used by regional leaders to preserve and/or restore this watershed to the highest quality possible.
The major aspect of a Watershed Action Plan that makes it extremely effective at solving water pollution issues on a local scale is that it is a public document. For FLMR to be successful in developing an Action Plan that thoroughly addresses all of the problems in the watershed, we need YOU to tell us the issues! Tell us the issues on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Lowell-Adams Volunteer Fire Department when FLMR hosts a public meeting to discuss the development of this plan and how it can benefit you.
Jesse Daubert is coordinator of the Friends of the Lower Muskingum River Watershed.