In the spring of 2000, an organization assembled by IDEM called the Wildcat Creek Watershed Network submitted a Section 319 project proposal through the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) to address water quality issues in the Wildcat Creek watershed. The Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 program provides funding for various types of projects that work to reduce nonpoint source water pollution (IDEM, 2002). The Section 319 project proposal included the following goals: 1) hire an Executive Director/Watershed Coordinator, 2) to build upon recommendations of the Wildcat Creek Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS), 3) coordinate planning efforts throughout watershed, and 4) develop two subwatershed management plans in the Wildcat Creek watershed.
A grant of $109,500 was awarded to the IASWCD from the US EPA through IDEM. The grant period is from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2003. Eleven consulting firms and/or individuals responded to the advertisement for an Executive Director/Watershed Coordinator position for the Wildcat Creek Watershed planning effort. Representatives from the Wildcat Creek Watershed Network, NRCS, and IDEM selected Goode & Associates, Inc. from Indianapolis as the contractor for the two-year project.
In the fall of 2001, the Wildcat Creek Watershed Network, reorganized, drafted By-laws, elected officers and officially became the Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance, Inc. The law firm Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis prepared the not-for-profit Section 501(c)3 corporation papers as a pro bono service.
Mission Statement (prior to 2008)
The Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance is a partnership of concerned citizens dedicated to developing and implementing successful watershed plans to improve and protect the water resources of the Wildcat Creek Watershed.
The membership of the Wildcat Creek Watershed Alliance (WCWA) is constantly growing. Currently, 485 individuals representing local government, industry, agriculture, development, environmental, and concerned citizens are active in the WCWA (see Map 5). Membership into the WCWA is open to 1) any individual person over the age of 18 who resides in, owes real property in, or does business in the watershed, 2) any business, community or industry group concerned about water resources in the watershed, or 3) any governmental entity whose geographic jurisdiction lies in the whole or part in the watershed.
The efforts of the WCWA are lead by a 13-member Advisory Board. Each member of the Advisory Board is elected at the WCWA Annual Meeting and serves a 3-year term. There are four officer positions including President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary (see Table 2 – organizational chart). According to the WCWA By-laws, the Advisory Board must consist of one representative from Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, Howard, and Tipton Counties and one from either Madison or Grant Counties. The 4 remaining members can be from any of the 7 counties in the Wildcat Creek watershed as long as 2 represent the public education system, universities, or colleges; 2 represent businesses or industries; 2 represent the agricultural businesses, farm bureau, or related agricultural related associations; and the remaining 5 from any vocational field.
The WCWA has 4 committees that are open to the general membership. The Education & Outreach Committee focuses its efforts on educating the general public and decision-makers in the Wildcat Creek watershed through workshops, newspaper articles, and field days. The Funding Committee is working toward securing long-term funding sources for the WCWA. The Land Use Committee targets land use and water quality issues in the watershed. And the Technical Committee coordinates, collects and analyzes water quality data throughout the Wildcat Creek watershed.
The WCWA is volunteer-based and public participation is essential to maintaining the strength of the organization. Information to the membership is disseminated through newspaper articles, quarterly newsletter, workshops, annual and quarterly membership meetings as well as regularly scheduled Advisory Board and committee meetings. The Annual Meeting for the general membership is held the first quarter of each year. Quarterly Stakeholder or Membership meetings are held on the second Tuesday of January, April, July, and October.