Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay Tributaries Watersheds

Sandusky River and Bay watershedsThe Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay tributaries watersheds are located in northwestern Ohio. They drain a total of 1,828 square miles and flow through all or part of 12 counties. Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Sandusky, Fremont, Tiffin, Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky.

The watersheds are predominantly comprised of cultivated crops with some areas of urban development and pasture and hay lands. Wetlands are located in the northern portion of the watersheds.

 

 

 

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Sandusky River (lower) Watershed

Sandusky River (lower) watershedThe Sandusky River is located in northwest Ohio. The Sandusky River flows into the Sandusky Bay north of Fremont in Sandusky County. The lower Sandusky River watershed is located primarily in Sandusky and Seneca counties. Small portions of the watershed are also located in Hancock, Wood and Ottawa counties. Land use in the watershed is dominated by cultivated crops (75 percent), developed or urban land (12.4 percent) and forest (6.4 percent). Municipalities include Fremont, Tiffin, Port Clinton, Helena, Republic, New Reigel, Bettsville, Burgoon and part of Fostoria.

 

 

 

 

 


Monitoring

The Sandusky River (lower) watershed was studied in 2009.  The lower Sandusky River watershed is divided into four subwatersheds as follows, and includes the large river mainstem:

  • 04100011 10        Wolf Creek
  • 04100011 11        Rock Creek-Sandusky River
  • 04100011 13        Muskellunge Creek-Sandusky River
  • 04100011 14        Muddy Creek-Frontal Sandusky Bay
  • Sandusky River main stem

TMDL Report

The Sandusky River (lower and Bay tributaries) Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on August 11, 2014. TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired waterbodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for total phosphorus, nitrate plus nitrite, total suspended solids and bacteria.

Recommendations for regulatory action resulting from this TMDL analysis include increasing monitoring and reducing loads from permitted point sources, inspecting and replacing or repairing failing home sewage treatment systems, and adopting best management practices (BMPs) to address agricultural and urban runoff. Agricultural BMPs should focus on management strategies for uplands, livestock, drainage waterways, and riparian corridors. Nonpoint sources are typically addressed by voluntary actions.

Supplemental Information

Implementation

The following implementation projects have been completed in the watershed.


Sandusky River (upper) Watershed

Sandusky River (upper) watershedThe Sandusky River (upper) basin is located primarily in Crawford, Wyandot and Seneca counties, but extends into portions of Richland, Huron, Marion and Hardin counties. The Upper Sandusky River TMDL area includes the mainstem and major tributaries from the headwaters to below the City of Tiffin. Agriculture is the predominant land use in the region. The Sandusky River was designated as an Ohio Scenic River in 1970 and is home to Ohio's largest inland population of bald eagles. Several NPDES permitted municipal and industrial facilities are within the watershed.

 

 

 

 

Monitoring

The watershed was monitored in 2001.  See the Supplemental Information tab for the biological and water quality monitoring report.

TMDL Report

The Upper Sandusky River Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on September 29, 2004. It is the thirteenth TMDL approved by U.S. EPA Region 5 under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. TMDLs identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired water bodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment.

The Upper Sandusky River TMDL report addresses water quality problems that were identified on the 2002 and 2004 303(d) lists. Organic and nutrient enrichment, siltation, low dissolved oxygen, habitat and flow alterations, and pathogens have been identified as the primary causes of impairment. Total phosphorus, sediment, habitat, and pathogen TMDLs have been calculated. Some of the recommended solutions include reduction of nutrient contributions from both point and nonpoint sources, public education about water quality issues, septic system improvements, and habitat protection and restoration. Attainment of the appropriate aquatic life use (the Warmwater Habitat biocriteria for the majority of the basin) and the recreation use will be the measure used to determine success.

Final Report without appendices (August 10, 2004)

  • Appendix A - Aquatic life use attainment status of streams in the Upper Sandusky River basin
  • Appendix B - Assessment unit scores
  • Appendix C - Aquatic life use attainment maps for each assessment unit
  • Appendix D - Comparison of habitat scores to habitat targets for selected streams in each assessment unit
  • Appendix E - Substrate score maps for each assessment unit
  • Appendix F - Riparian condition scores for each assessment unit
  • Appendix G - Bacteria modeling for the Upper Sandusky watershed
  • Appendix H - Total phosphorus loads and recommended permit limits for significant NPDES permitted facilities in the upper Sandusky River basin
  • Appendix I - Selected Plots of datasonde results collected by Ohio EPA in the Sandusky River Basin During 2001-02
  • Appendix J - Dissolved oxygen modeling
  • Appendix K - Load duration curves
  • Appendix L - Section 319 grants
  • Appendix M - Clean Ohio Fund
  • Appendix N - State and federal funding for drinking water and wastewater systems
  • Appendix O - Public comments and responses

Supplemental Information

Implementation

The following projects have been completed in the watershed:

Sandusky Bay Tributaries

Sandusky Bay tributariesThe Sandusky Bay is located in Ohio waters of Lake Erie and is bound by the Marblehead Peninsula and Cedar Point. The Sandusky Bay tributaries watershed is located primarily in Sandusky, Seneca and Erie counties. A small portion of the watershed is located in Huron County. Land use in the watershed is dominated by cultivated crops (71 percent), developed or urban land (15 percent) and forest (7 percent). Municipalities include Sandusky, Bellevue, Clyde, Green Springs, Bay View and Castalia.

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring

Several tributaries to the bay were studied in 2009. The study area is divided into three subwatersheds as follows:

  • 04100011 01        Mills Creek-Frontal Lake Erie
  • 04100011 02        Pickerel Creek-Frontal Sandusky Bay
  • 04100011 12        Green Creek

TMDL Report

The Sandusky River (lower and Bay tributaries) Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report was approved by U.S. EPA on August 11, 2014. TMDL reports identify and evaluate water quality problems in impaired waterbodies and propose solutions to bring those waters into attainment with water quality standards.

TMDLs were calculated for total phosphorus, nitrate plus nitrite, total suspended solids and bacteria.

Recommendations for regulatory action resulting from this TMDL analysis include increasing monitoring and reducing loads from permitted point sources, inspecting and replacing or repairing failing home sewage treatment systems, and adopting best management practices (BMPs) to address agricultural and urban runoff. Agricultural BMPs should focus on management strategies for uplands, livestock, drainage waterways, and riparian corridors. Nonpoint sources are typically addressed by voluntary actions.

Supplemental Information

Implementation

The following projects have been completed in the watershed: