Juday creek restoration

Outcomes and Conclusions

The creek’s two new reaches run through the golf course before merging into the creek. The reaches are surrounded by forested area that helps prevent contamination and erosion while also providing a natural feature for the golf course. The new design also recycles water through a series of pumps and the buffer zones help limit the stream’s interaction with the regular maintenance of the golf course.

Juday Creek is healthier than it was previously. Through years of monitoring, the researchers noticed a change in the fish populations present. Although one of the initial goals was to protect the non-native brown trout swimming in the creek, the trout population decreased over time. However, native fish species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and rock bass are once again found in the creek and are increasing in abundance. Other native species like the johnny darter and mottled sculpin also returned. Many of these native species are intolerant to silt and pollution in the water, so their return is an indicator of increasing stream health. While upstream sections in the watershed have still seen negative ecological impacts from development, the restored section of the creek provides healthy habitat for many aquatic organisms.

A smallmouth bass found in Juday Creek. Photo courtesy of Patrick Shirey
A rock bass found in Juday Creek. Photo courtesy of Patrick Shirey
A white sucker found in Juday Creek. Photo courtesy of Patrick Shirey

To continue monitoring the health of the creek while also educating on watershed protection, researchers bring their classes and K-12 schools out to the creek for research. One of the issues with educating the public is the lack of access to streams and waterways that can result in people not knowing about aquatic ecosystems or the issues affecting them. By having a public access site at Juday Creek, the researchers can help educate the community on aquatic ecosystems and what goes into protecting them.


Indiana’s drainage law was the initial challenge in this project. This law classifies Juday Creek as a ditch, which subjects it to less protection and allows for management practices, such as mowing and wood removal, that are detrimental to the health of the aquatic ecosystem. Additionally, watershed management upstream of the creek causes effects that the researchers cannot tease out. For instance, road runoff, land use changes from development, poor agricultural practices, other golf courses, and well withdrawal upstream can increase the sediment and nutrient levels running downstream to the creek and decrease the amount of water flowing into Juday Creek.

Takeaway Message

Patrick Shirey, one of the researchers who studied Juday Creek, said, “Think about the long-term management of these ecosystems on a wide scale before addressing the actual restoration to make sure you have all the information you need to be successful. Also, we need to rethink our state drainage laws, which were enacted by states under pressure from the federal government to encourage wetland and stream habitat destruction for row-crop agriculture. Coupled with the Indian Removal Act, these drainage laws served as an act of systematic genocide toward indigenous residents who grew crops with sophisticated techniques of crop rotations involving more than 30 species.  As a result of wetland destruction under drainage law, we suffer from soil loss, risk of flooding, reduced habitat for fish, and poorer water quality for people. When you are doing any type of restoration project, you should consider inviting the indigenous people who identify the area as their ancestral land to participate in the planning process. By incorporating indigenous communities into the planning process, we can work on combating the injustices that have occurred.”

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For more information about the Juday Creek restoration, contact

  • Patrick Shirey
    Visiting Research Assistant Professor
    Department of Geology and Environmental Science
    University of Pittsburgh
    Certified Ecologist
    Certified Fisheries Professional
    Ecology Policy LLC
  • Gary Lamberti
    University of Notre Dame