Cedar Creek's Unique Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Character
The goals of the Friends of Cedar Creek are to preserve Cedar Creek
in Northeast Indiana as a natural stream flow unaltered from its
present condition, to eliminate all polluting materials that enter Cedar Creek
from its watershed, to encourage preservation of wildlife habitat, to protect
the flood plain and to cooperate with public and private agencies and groups who
concur that maintenance of Cedar Creek as a natural stream represents its
highest condition and use.
Formed by the Wisconsin glacier in what are now Allen, DeKalb, and
Noble counties in northeastern Indiana, the Cedar Creek valley is
"one of the most unusual valley systems in the world," according to
geologist Dr. Jack Sunderman. Cedar Creek is the largest tributary
to the St. Joseph River, Fort Wayne's only drinking water supply.
The Cedar Creek watershed forms an important wildlife habitat and
migratory songbird route enjoyed and studied by residents of and
visitors to this region.
Because of its unique natural, scenic, and recreational character,
Cedar Creek became the second of only three natural streams in Indiana
to be designated as a preserved waterway. Under the State of Indiana
Natural, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act, the Indiana Natural
Resources Commission in 1976 protected 13.7 miles of Cedar Creek, from
County Road 68 in DeKalb County to confluence with the St. Joseph River
in Allen County. In addition, the A-3 zoning of most of Cedar Creek's
valley increases property values and limits high-density, commercial,
and industrial development while protecting and maintaining the watershed's
Cedar Creek's headwaters have been extensively ditched and dredged for
agricultural drainage, which has increased the watershed's vulnerability
to erosion. Increased development has also created problems with bacterial
contamination resulting from inadequate home septic systems. Misguided and
inappropriate flood control schemes and "debrushing" projects that alter natural
hydrology and vegetation are further threats to Cedar Creek's water quality
and integrity as an outstanding state resource.
Friends of Cedar Creek:
Educate and Inspire.
Fosters understanding of the critical
role the natural environment plays in the health and well-being of our
Provides and/or coordinates programs,
speakers and print materials on topics such as water quality, drainage,
septic system management, wildflowers, and Cedar Creek's fascinating
Researched and published "Protecting Neotropical Migrant Birds by
Saving Watershed Riverine Forests" (1997), which
lists and describes 48 neotropical songbirds (such as the Red-Eyed
Vireo, Scarlet Tanager and Yellow Warbler)
that use the unique Cedar Creek valley as a migratory route each spring.
Stimulates ideas and creative thinking
for strategies to preserve the Cedar Creek valley.
Inspires a healthy respect for our shared
environment on earth by increasing public awareness and appreciation of the
Cedar Creek valley's rich and diverse natural features, such as the following:
Massive trees, including Oak, Maple, Beech, Buckeye, Walnut, Cherry, and Sycamore
Majestic birds such as Great Blue Herons, hawks, owls, ducks, warblers and woodpeckers
including Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Red-bellied
Steep wildflower-covered hillsides rimming Cedar Creek that include rare plants such as
Yellow Lady's Slipper, Blue-Eyed Mary, Blue Lobelia, Goldenseal, Green Dragon, and
Dramatic mosses and ferns
Wild turkeys, raccoons, deer, coyote, fox, mink, muskrats, beaver, otter, clams, mollusks, and fish
Valuable wetlands that replenish Allen County aquifers and provide habitat for turtles, toads, snakes,
salamanders, and frogs