Jody Melton Executive Director of the Kankakee River Basin Commission shared the mission of the KRBC with the Kentland Rotary Club members on Monday August 7.   He was the guest of Chris Knochel Newton County Surveyor and members of the KRBC Board.   KRBC’s website states that, Perhaps no major river in Indiana has been of more discussion, debate and study than the Kankakee River.  The Kankakee River has been at the forefront of Indiana's history, first as a wildlife paradise inhospitable to man's settlement, then as the focus of a drainage movement in the 1800's that changed the character of the Kankakee River Basin forever. The 90 miles of the Kankakee River in Indiana from St. Joseph County near South Bend to the Indiana and Illinois state line. The Kankakee River is the drainage outlet for 1.9 million acres in Northwest Indiana, of which 1.6 million acres of cropland.”  The KRBC was established to coordinate development in the Basin and has, since established, sought to plan and coordinate the many environmental demands placed upon the Kankakee River, its tributaries, and all the land around it. This includes flood control and drainage, as well as recreation, water quality and supply, hunting and fishing, wetlands preservation and upland soil erosion.  The Kankakee Basin in Indiana comprises 1.9 million acres of which almost 1.6 million has been used as cropland.
The Kankakee River forms the northern border of Newton County and the Iroquois River is one of its main tributaries so it has a major effect on the residents of the county.   Originally the Kankakee drained the Grand Kankakee Marsh but over the years the river has been straightened to improve the water movement and allow the creation of farmland and residential areas. Mr. Melton commented that Indiana paid for blasting of a natural limestone shelf in Illinois to improve the water flow and remove a natural dam that hindered drainage.  Levees were also built along the Kankakee to protect these areas from flooding.   Melton emphasized the constant effort by Illinois and Indiana is needed to prevent the river from returning to its natural meandering course and once again creating a wetland and marsh once again.
In other business President Elect Kirby Drey announced that less than 100 tickets remain for the Kentland Rotary Truck Raffle.  He also reminded members of the August 29th Rib dinner and carry-in to introduce potential members to the Kentland Rotary Club activities and members.Image