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The Mission

The St. Joseph River Basin Commission exists to conserve, enhance, and promote the natural resources and benefits of the Watershed for present and future generations by providing vision, leadership and means.

The Commission

Efforts to improve water quality in the St. Joseph River began in the 1980s, with a project focused on developing a trout and salmon fisheries program from Lake Michigan to the Twin Branch Dam in Mishawaka, Indiana. The project was based around the concept of establishing a network of fish ladders along the St. Joseph River-Lake Michigan Basin between the states of Michigan and Indiana. The initial ladder was constructed in Berrien Springs, Michigan which was followed by ladders in Buchanan and Niles, Michigan and South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana. The final ladder was completed in the fall of 1992. However, with the anticipated hope that improved fisheries would bring many anglers to the shores of the St. Joseph River, it became apparent to the Michiana community that the quality of water in the River and its tributaries may need to be better protected to insure fish and anglers were not exposed to potential contaminants. Thus in 1988, the Indiana State Legislature approved the creation of the St. Joseph River basin Commission, a basin commission concentrating on water quality issues.


Today, the Commission is dedicated to maintaining or improving the quality of water in the St. Joseph River Basin through education, outreach, information sharing, grant writing, planning, and demonstration projects as well as serving as a liaison between various water quality agencies on a federal, state, and local level. The Commission is currently headquartered in the offices of the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG), South Bend, Indiana. An ongoing partnership between the two agencies exists through an inter-local agreement.

The Basin