Grand River Watershed

Grand River watershedThe Grand River watershed is located in northeastern Ohio. It drains a total of 707 square miles and flows through all or part of five counties. Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Orwell, Roaming Shores, Jefferson, West Farmington, Chardon and Painesville. The watershed is a mixture of forest, agricultural land uses such as cultivated crops and pasture and hay lands, and urban land uses.

TMDL reports are complete for each of the subwatersheds in the Grand River watershed (see TMDL Report links in each tab below).

 

 

 

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Grand River (upper) Watershed

Grand River (upper) watershedThe Grand River (upper) watershed is located in northeastern Ohio and flows through four counties: Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage and Trumbull. The watershed drains 418 square miles. Land use in the watershed is dominated by forest, row crop/pasture, and woody wetlands.

The Grand River (upper) watershed was monitored by Ohio EPA in 2007. U.S. EPA approved a TMDL report for the watershed in 2013 (see TMDL Report tab below).

 

 

 

 


Monitoring

The upper (southern) portion of the Grand River watershed, including the headwaters, was studied during 2007.  The Grand River flows into Lake Erie at Painesville in Lake County.  The lower (northern) portion of the watershed was studied in 2004.  The Grand River (upper) watershed is divided into four subwatersheds, as follows:

  • 04110004 01        Headwaters Grand River
  • 04110004 02        Rock Creek
  • 04110004 03        Phelps Creek-Grand River
  • 04110004 05        Three Brothers Creek-Grand River

TMDL Report

The Grand River (upper) Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report was approved by U.S. EPA on April 10, 2013.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for nutrients (total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus and ammonia), total dissolved solids, habitat and E. coli bacteria.


Recommendations for regulatory action resulting from this TMDL analysis include an effluent limit for total phosphorus for one facility and monitoring for total Kjeldahl nitrogen, ammonia and total phosphorus for several other small facilities.  Nonpoint sources of direct habitat alterations should be addressed by bank and riparian restoration, stream restoration and investigation into dam modification or removal; for nutrients, total dissolved solids and bacteria by tying unsewered areas into sewer systems where feasible and further investigation sources in some locations; and for bacteria by inspecting and replacing or repairing failing home sewage treatment systems and agricultural best management practices.  In some cases of natural impairment, wetland restoration and/or conservation easements may improve water quality.  Nonpoint sources are typically addressed by voluntary actions.


Supplemental Information

Implementation

There is no implementation information available at this time.


Grand River (lower) Watershed

Grand River (lower) watershedThe Grand River (lower) watershed is located in northeast Ohio in Lake, Ashtabula and Geauga counties and drains 287 square miles. The river flows into Lake Erie at Painesville. The Grand River downstream from Mill Creek transitions from a low-gradient swamp stream to a higher-gradient bedrock stream near Mechanicsville. Jefferson, Chardon and Painesville are the three largest communities in the watershed. Land use in the lower Grand River watershed transitions from urban/suburban on the western edge to rural and agricultural in the eastern two-thirds. There is significant development pressure in this watershed.

The Grand River (lower) watershed was monitored by Ohio EPA in 2003 and 2004. U.S. EPA approved a TMDL report for the watershed in 2012 (see TMDL Report tab below).



Monitoring

Ohio EPA conducted water quality monitoring in 2003 and 2004.  The Grand River and some of its tributaries displayed very good quality, while tributaries in the urbanized and agricultural portions of the watershed were generally of a lower quality.  Aquatic life uses were supported at 77% of sites; 20% of sites partially attained and 10% did not attain.  Most of the biological impairment was caused by flow regime alterations from urbanization.  There were also some natural causes and sources, such as low flow or homogeneous (bedrock) substrates.  Nutrients contributed to impairment at several sites.  About 71% of the sites failed to meet bacteria water quality standards.  Probable sources of bacteria included agricultural land practices such as inadequate manure management, unrestricted cattle access to streams, and sewage discharges in unsewered areas with inadequate or failing home sewage treatment systems (HSTS).

TMDL Report

The Grand River (lower) Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on April 12, 2012.  TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for total phosphorus, flow regime and E. coli bacteria.  The flow regime TMDL is the first of its kind in Ohio (see Sections 7 and 9.6 of the main report for more information).  No reductions to point source loads of bacteria or nutrients are recommended.  Recommendations to address nonpoint sources of pollution include increased inspections and subsequent enforcement actions regarding HSTS that are not running properly.  Effects of hydrologic alteration and pollutants from urban runoff and storm water can be reduced by installing best management practices that retain or infiltrate storm water on-site at construction and post-construction locations.  Agricultural runoff can be addressed through conventional management practices that are designed to abate pollutant loading from cropland landscapes.  Livestock that have access to streams should be provided with alternative water supplies and fencing installed to prevent their access to the streams.  It is also recommended that riparian corridors be preserved wherever possible.

TMDL report without appendices

Supplemental Information

Implementation