Portage River and Toussaint River Watersheds

Portage River and Toussaint RiverThe Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds are located in northwestern Ohio.  They drain a total of 766 square miles and flow through all or part of six counties.  Major municipalities partially or fully in the watersheds include Bowling Green, Fostoria, Port Clinton and Marblehead.

The watersheds are predominantly comprised of cultivated crops with pockets of urban development.  There is an area of wetlands along Lake Erie.

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Portage River Watershed

Portage River watershedThe Portage River is located in northwestern Ohio.  The Portage River flows into Lake Erie at Port Clinton in Ottawa County.  The watershed is distributed across Ottawa, Sandusky, Hancock and Wood counties with a small portion in Seneca County.  Land use in the watershed is comprised predominantly of 78% cultivated cropland, 11% developed land, and 5% forest.  McComb obtains its drinking water from Rader Creek; North Baltimore from Rocky Ford Creek; and Fostoria from the East Branch of the Portage River.











Ohio EPA sampled the water quality in the watershed in 2008.  Only 54 percent of the sites in the Portage River watershed fully met aquatic life use goals and 12 percent met recreation use goals.  Problems include an excessive amount of fine sediment in the channels, nutrient enrichment from runoff and other drainage from cropland and animal farming, nutrients in waste water, organic enrichment from combined sewer systems, and bacteria from croplands, home septic systems, waste water systems (both CSOs and WWTPs) and urban runoff.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The Portage River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 30, 2011.  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 E. coli bacteria, nutrients, organic enrichment and sediment and habitat.  Recommendations include new permit limits for 22 facilities, adoption of conservation practices on cropland, overall better treatment of decentralized waste water, and improving habitat through a more natural approach to drainage maintenance.  The report recommends increased inspections and subsequent enforcement regarding home septic systems that do not comply with local codes and implementing conventional management practices to minimize pollutant loading from cropland and urban landscapes.

TMDL report without appendices

There is no implementation information available at this time.


Toussaint River Watershed

Toussaint River watershedThe Toussaint River is a tributary to western Lake Erie, draining 143 square miles in Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties.  Topography in the watershed is very flat, and the soils are largely artificially drained glacial tills and clayey lake deposits.  Seventy-seven percent of the land cover is row crop agriculture while 11% and 5% constitute pasture and forest covers, respectively.  The remaining land cover includes urban/residential, open water and wetland.  The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is located here, and wetlands are a large part of the region’s natural history.










Ohio EPA surveyed the status of the water quality in this watershed in 2003.  The biological and water quality study was published in 2005 and is available under Supplemental Information below.  The primary causes of water quality problems in the Toussaint watershed are nutrient enrichment, organic enrichment, siltation, habitat alteration, and flow alteration.

According to the 2012 Integrated Report, this watershed will next be monitored in 2023.

The Toussaint River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 22, 2006.  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 are established for phosphorus, sediment, and habitat.  Some of the recommended solutions to address the impairments include reduction of nutrient contributions from nonpoint sources, public education about watersheds and water quality issues, conservation farming practices, centralized treatment for an unsewered community, septic system improvements, post-construction storm water controls, and habitat protection and restoration.

There is no implementation information available at this time.