On July 5, 2017, graduate student Rajesh Sigdel successfully defended his Master’s project titled “Assessment of Environmental Stressors in the Indian Mill Creek Watershed”. His project committee included GVSU faculty members Dr. Richard Rediske, Dr. Eric Snyder as well as Wendy Ogilvie from Grand Valley Metropolitan Council.
A detailed study of physical, biological, and chemical characteristics along with Geographic Information System (GIS) characterization of land-use change was conducted to identify the sources and causes of environmental stressors impacting Indian Mill Creek. Rajesh’s research found that sediment transport and deposition was impacting the habitat of Indian Mill Creek. The land use was significantly altered since pre-settlement times: the upper reach of the watershed was dominated by agricultural land and the lower portion consisted of residential and industrial land cover. These land cover changes contributed to episodic high flows and the transport of suspended and bedload sediment in Indian Mill Creek. Channel erosion also contributed to high sediment load in Indian Mill Creek. Decreasing the amount of impervious surface in increasing water stormwater infiltration by the implementation of best management practices was recommended.
After graduating from Grand Valley State University, Rajesh plans to attend Western Michigan University to study Geography and GIS.