In 2004, a stretch was designated as not meeting the Primary Contact Use Support (e.g. swimming).  Prior to 2004, no use impairments had been identified.  The potential cause: fecal coliform bacteria.  The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in aquatic environments may indicate that the water has been contaminated with the fecal material of people or animals. Often, fecal coliform bacteria can enter rivers through direct discharge of waste from mammals and birds, from agricultural and storm runoff, and from untreated human sewage.

The watershed plan worked to identify potential sources of these negative impacts so that watershed stakeholders have a better understanding of priority focus areas.  It notes that within the watershed the presence of aquatic fowl and cattle in the streams can contribute greatly to levels of fecal coliform.  Another source mentioned is from poorly functioning, failing, or non-existent septic systems which may leach fecal matter into stormwater runoff which can drain into the creek.  The following are a couple of methods that could work to address this impairment, that are covered in the 2008 Aux Sable Creek Watershed Management Plan:

  • Implement urban and agricultural best management practices

    This can include naturalized detention ponds in all new subdivisions which discourage Canada Geese from recreating near the water.  In addition, if Canada Geese populate in areas draining to the detention ponds, routing stormwater overland through bioswales, riparian buffers and the like can reduce the pollutants in the water.

  • Ensure proper management of natural areas

    All green and grey infrastructure requires maintenance and management.  Generally green infrastructure is that which provides a function utilizing native plants and open space.  Grey infrastructure is generally considered to be pipes in the ground or other non-open space ways of dealing with stormwater.  Depending on the purpose, function, and type of infrastructure the needs are different.  Since there is not a one size fits all approach and different specialties are needed, a management plan should be prepared in advance to guide those who are responsible for proper maintenance and management so that they can make the best decision and ensure these areas function as intended and are aesthetically pleasing as well.

  • Create unified system of monitoring septic systems.

A method for periodic inspection of residential septic systems should be set up to ensure that individual systems are properly treating effluent before it enters the groundwater system.