Water Quality Assessment of Prairie Creek Reservoir Tributaries in Delaware County, Indiana


  • Jeremy D. Ferguson Ball State University, Natural Resources and Environmental Management
  • Jarka Popovicova Ball State University, Natural Resources and Environmental Management


Eutrophication, nutrients, monitoring, streams, reservoir


Prairie Creek Reservoir (PCR) is located in east-central Indiana within a predominantly agricultural watershed. The reservoir serves as a secondary source of drinking water for the city of Muncie and provides numerous recreational amenities. Previous studies focused on water quality in the reservoir, which led to local land management decisions. The current study was conducted to obtain baseline physical and chemical data for the five major tributaries of PCR, and to determine how agricultural, residential and commercial land use impacts water quality via tributary sub-watersheds. Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH were measured; additionally, concentrations of total N, nitrate-N, ammonia-N, and phosphorus (P) species were analyzed. Dissolved oxygen concentrations were below Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) guidelines; total P and particulate P concentrations differed significantly (p < 0.05) between several tributaries, while total N and nitrate-N concentrations did not significantly differ. Of the five tributaries, Shave Tail Creek and Carmichael Ditch generated the greatest nutrient loads and were therefore ranked the worst tributaries in terms of overall water quality. It is recommended that best management practices be implemented at Shave Tail Creek and Carmichael Ditch to improve reservoir water quality.






Environmental Quality