1 ) Ensure that all major streams/rivers entering and leaving Indiana borders have water quality monitoring done at co-located stream gages so loads and trends can be determined. For the Ohio River this would require coordination with the States of Ohio and Kentucky so that major tributaries that drain into the Ohio River are sampled.
a. The Maumee River basin needs a sampling site co-located with a streamflow gage at the downstream point of the basin to determine loads leaving the basin. The Harmful Algal Bloom issue in Lake Erie as well as sedimentation makes this a priority site. The USGS has a stream gage—Maumee River at Antwerp, OH, 0418350—approximately seven river miles from the border that could be leveraged for streamflow.
b. Work with other states to ensure that sampling on streams and rivers that cross borders are being sampled. In Indiana, the Wabash, Maumee, St. Mary’s, Kankakee, and Great Miami Rivers are examples where interstate collaboration would help both states.
2) Ensure that all major streams/rivers entering and leaving Major River Basins have water quality monitoring done at co-located stream gages so loads and trends can be determined. Currently the East Fork White River does not have a co-located stream gage and water-quality monitoring site. A potential site would be the East Fork White River at Shoals, Indiana.
3) Stream sites that are sampled by multiple agencies/groups should work together to determine a more efficient plan that could save money, time, and improve sample quality and quantity. Annual meetings to share data and quality assurance data would be helpful to improve the coverage and quality of data collected in Indiana. Included in this would be some side-by-side sampling with samples being sent to all agencies labs for comparison.
4) Work with national agencies such as USGS and USEPA to increase the number of “Super Gages” in Indiana. The focus would be on key streams and rivers such as the Maumee, White, Wabash, and Kankakee Rivers. Having continuous, real-time measurements of nutrients and sediment would help both state regulatory, as well as regional and national efforts. A Super Gage at the downstream site of Indianapolis would help delineate point and non-point driven influences.
5) Work with national agencies such as USGS and USEPA to identify potential reference sites that could be included in national monitoring networks such as the Hydrologic Benchmark Network. IDEM has identified potential reference sites within the Cornbelt Ecoregion and is in the process of confirming the ecological integrity of these sites.
6) Identify reference or “least impacted” sites for the different ecoregions within Indiana. Incorporate several sites as part of the Fixed Sampling Network within Indiana. Include yearly ecological sampling at these reference sites as well.
7) Publish summaries of all state data annually or regularly. A review and release of all water quality data would identify potential water quality issues.
8) Accumulate the reporting levels for important parameters from all the sampling agencies. Once reporting levels are known for each agency and group, a consistent minimum reporting level could be determined.
9) Continue to update this paper and list of sampling sites periodically and showcase it on the Indiana Water Monitoring Council website. Recent discussions within the Maumee River watershed have identified sampling done by the City of Fort Wayne and the Tri-state Initiative that could be added to the list in the future. There likely is other sampling being done that has not been identified.