Little Elkhart River Watershed - HUC #0405000112

The Little Elkhart River Watershed is located in Elkhart and LaGrange Counties Indiana, spanning 82,982 acres. A very prevalent Amish community within this watershed has resulted in three quarters of the land being dedicated to agriculture, with a primary use of pasture for livestock. Conventional livestock practices, primarily in the headwaters of the watershed, have been a major contributor to several water quality impairments, such as high levels of nutrients, E. coli, and sediment. Generally these issues can be combated through federal and state cost-share conservation programs; however, many Amish communities do not feel comfortable accepting government monies. This presents a unique social challenge to improving water quality within the watershed, which is addressed within the Little Elkhart River Watershed Management Plan defined by the following mission statement:

“Establish a diverse group of stakeholders within the watershed in a cooperative effort to protect, restore, and educate the public on the importance of the Little Elkhart River Watershed as a critical component of the St. Joseph River System”

- Little Elkhart River Watershed Management Plan Addendum (2011)

Watershed Maps

Size: 82,982 ac.

Subwatersheds: 5


Population: Approx. 17,990


Notable Tributaries: 194 mi linear waterways

Environmental Concerns:

Unique Resources:

Little Elkhart River Watershed Map

Printable Little Elkhart River Fact Sheet