The work of CLTLC is guided by 3 focus areas: water quality enhancement, natural areas preservation, and environmental education.
Our efforts in program planning and project completion aim to enhance water quality, protect important natural areas, and educate and inspire the community in ways they can help keep our cherished corner of the state healthy, vibrant, and natural!
- Kasota Island Shoreline Protection Project (2016 – ongoing)
- Restoration at the Clear Lake Nature Preserve (2014 – ongoing)
- Clear Lake Dredging - LARE (2015-2016)
- Koeneman Lake Dam Reconstruction (2016-2017)
- Knee-high Naturalists (Annually)
- Community Education Programs (Annually)
- Clean Stream Project (2020 – ongoing)
Kasota Island Shoreline Protection Project
In 2019 we completed this multi-year and fully-funded project to protect the island shoreline from an alarming erosion rate of 2-4 inches a year.
Key to the project was installation of a bioengineered seawall around the entire island to slow erosion due to wave action on the lake.
The island is an important space for wildlife and for our community. The sandy beach areas that are exposed each summer remain. The shoreline is now protected with glacial stone. Multiple access points were installed. For more specific details on the work, please view the original project brochure. Regular updates on the project progress can be found here.
This recent ASK BRIDGET updates you on current plans to address landscaping on Kasota. Most regular landscape maintenance was deferred while the Shoreline Restoration project was underway. Much needed tree maintenance will occur over the 2019-2020 winter to ensure safety for the hundreds of summer visitors. Over 60 new native trees and shrubs will be planted and watered in 2020. Undergrowth will be thinned and invasive plants removed.
We’d welcome your help! Join us for the annual Kasota Workday on June 12, 2021. You can sign up here.
Restoration at the Clear Lake Nature Preserve
The restoration goals at our Clear Lake Nature Preserve are to enhance and restore the ecosystem health, diversity, vitality, and beauty back to an open oak woodland and oak savanna.
Converting this 45 acre tract to an open oak woodland requires a selective harvest and a prescribed fire. Over several months in 2016-2017 large equipment removed carefully selected trees from Brennan Woods and other portions of the Clear Lake Nature Preserve. Removing these carefully selected trees will help us reach our restoration goal of opening up the canopy to allow more light to reach the forest floor.
We are working with Blue Heron Ministries to conduct a series of prescribed fires on our 45 acre preserve using professionally trained staff and equipment. The fires will help us control invasive species and burn the excess under brush so that oak seedlings can take hold. The western section of CLNP is being restored to a native prairie, once common but now quite rare in our region. The prairie will serve as valuable bird and wildlife habitat, especially for native and migrating birds which are disappearing at an alarming rate in our world.
Finally, we are installing a two mile hiking trail through the preserve. By creating the trail we will help protect important features of the preserve while encouraging exploration and enjoyment of this beautiful property. Send us photos of your favorite scenes as you hike the trails or join us on periodic guided hikes which will be posted on our website and Facebook page!
LARE Funded Dredging on Clear Lake
Accumulated sediment in Clear Lake impacts recreational capacity, diminishes habitat, and can degrade water quality.
The Lake and River Enhancement Grant (LARE) funded a Sediment Removal Plan. This plan identified areas of the lake affected by sedimentation, defined the amounts present, and outlined a process for removal. Once the plan was completed the sites were submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR’S) LARE program to fund the actual dredging. After site visits, the IDNR selected four of the six sites as fundable, high priority sites.
The northern channel in Quiet Harbor was hydraulically dredged in the fall of 2015. The lakeside-outlet of the Cyrus Brouse ditch along South Clear Lake Dr, the area around the public launch including the Harry Teeters ditch up to Lakeside Court, and the area near the Round/Clear Lake bridge were dredged in 2016. The contractor removed over 600 cubic yards of sediment. The material was used to fill in a historically mined gravel pit at Brennan Woods.
Koeneman Lake Dam Reconstruction and Sediment Removal
Preserving and maintaining Koeneman Lake enhances the water flow into Clear Lake.
For much of 2016-2017, our Koeneman Lake Nature Preserve and trail were closed to allow work on this important water quality project. Partnering with the Clear Lake Lutheran Church (CLLC) for access, we were able to dredge the lake, and rebuild the dam. With a stable dam in place, Koeneman Lake can continue serving as the settling point for sediment and nutrients flowing through the Harry Teeters ditch on the way to Clear Lake. The preserve and trail re-opened in July 2017 with guided tours and a community ice cream social co-sponsored with CLLC. For the complete story visit our News & Events section.
The Knee-high Naturalist program, presented annually in the month of July, consists of four 1.5-hour workshops on environmental topics such as wildflowers, trees, invasive species, fish, and watershed awareness.
Children of all ages are welcome with an adult chaperon. The goal is to increase awareness about our natural environment and to educate and inspire the children to serve as Knee-high Naturalists in their backyards, on the playground, and in their communities. We provide real examples of how they can make a positive impact on our environment.
Community Education Programs
The Conservancy hosts speakers, workshops, and events that provide educational opportunities for the community to learn about our natural resources and ways we can protect and enhance them. Check our events page for our upcoming offerings.
Conservancy education programs reached almost 1,000 people in 2018 and 2019, including over 600 4th and 7th grade students. Want to learn more on-line? Our Blue Papers are great resources for learning about conservation topics.
Clean Stream Project
The Settlers Wetland Nature Preserve is located along the Cyrus Brouse Ditch. This area was identified in a 1993 Watershed Study completed by Cardno, formerly JFNew, as a possible site for a wetland installation. Jim and Annie Skinner, former President and current Water Quality Committee member, respectively, have envisioned the positive impact of this project for many years.
Working with the County Surveyor's office, the project consists of the construction of a two-stage ditch on the west bank of the Cyrus Brouse Ditch. The graphic below shows a conventional ditch on the left. The two stage ditch, on the right, creates a bench to allow the water flowing through the ditch during heavy rain events, or high flow, to slow down and spread out. In doing so, the sediments and suspended nutrients like phosphorous or nitrogen have a chance to settle out. Our project will be similar to the graphic on the right, but a bench will only be constructed on the west side of the ditch. During large rain events the two stage ditch will flow into a constructed wetland. This allows suspended solids to settle out and the up-take of nutrients by water-loving plants. Wetlands—the “kidneys” of our lakes—function to remove pollution from the waters flowing into and through them and ultimately into our lakes.
Funding support for the Clean Stream project has been secured from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Lake & River Enhancement Program, the Clear Lake Fund and Danny & Bill Fund, both held at the Steuben County Community Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NiSource Foundation and NIPSCO, and an anonymous donor.
- Blue Heron Ministries
- Clear Lake Association
- Clear Lake Lion’s Club
- Clear Lake Lutheran Church
- Clear Lake Yacht Club
- Fremont Public Schools
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- Land Trust Alliance
- Moody & Crew Farms
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Northeast Indiana Solid Management District
- St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative
- Steuben County Community Foundation
- Steuben County Lakes Council
- Steuben County Soil & Water Conservation District
- Town of Clear Lake
- U.S Fish & Wildlife Service