USGS Ohio Indiana Kentucky Water Science Center

Super Gage Network



Black Creek near Harlan, IN

USGS Station ID: 04183038

Available Data

Stream Data: Gage height, discharge
Water-Quality Data: Dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance at 25°C, turbidity, water temperature
Atmospheric Data: Precipitation

View data

Station Description

Latitude: 41°10'59.1"
Longitude: 84°52'10.9"
Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC): 04100005
Datum: 723.46 feet above NAVD88
Drainage Area: 12.36 square miles
County in which site is located: Allen
Site managed by: Indiana Water Science
Center/Wisconsin Water Science Center

Station Funding

This station is operated and maintained in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Hydrologic Conditions

The Black Creek near Harlan, IN site was established as a "Super Gage" to collect multiple data parameters using a variety of the newest technology for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Edge of Field monitoring study.

The Black Creek near Harlan gage is located in Eastern Allen County, at the Northern part of Maumee township, approximately 3.5 miles West of the Indiana/Ohio state line; 4 miles Northwest of the town of Woodburn, IN; approximately 2.7 miles Southeast of the town of Harlan, IN; and approximately 250 ft directly South of the intersection of Notestine and Schaffer Roads, and on the right upstream bank of the Schaffer road bridge.

The Black Creek near Harlan gage is approximately 2.79 river miles upstream from the mouth of the confluence between Black Creek and the Maumee River. The gage is situated at the Schaffer road bridge in order to avoid backwater influences from the Maumee River as noticed at further downstream locations.

Landuse in the Black Creek watershed and upstream headwaters is primarily agricultural, along with minor residential influences. The streambanks at the Black Creek gage are mostly covered with deciduous trees and bushes, while upstream headwater ditches and streams in the watershed appear to be covered with grass along the streambanks.

The streambed at Black Creek near Harlan is mainly comprised of sand and silt. Low-water flow conditions are influenced by a small cobble and gravel riffle located on the downstream side of the bridge; and by the channel during high-flow conditions. Flows during the Winter months will be affected by ice.

Sample Collection and Use

The Black Creek near Harlan gage is a conventional stage-discharge site, along with a YSI EXO2 water quality sonde for continuous monitoring, and a refrigerated autosampler to collect water quality storm samples from the creek. The YSI EXO2 monitors water quality parameters including: water temperature, specific conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen concentration, and turbidity readings at 15 minute intervals; also, an ISCO 6712 autosampler was installed to collect storm samples at timed intervals. Precipitation data is additionally collected at the site. Data from the gage transmits hourly through a cellular modem.

Storm sampling activity can be viewed at the following links:

Storm Summary NWISweb

Water-quality data can be viewed at the following links:

Storm Summary NWISweb

Water quality samples are collected throughout storm events during the entire year and are shipped as individual discrete bottles to the University of Wisconsin at Stevens-Point, WI Water and Environment Laboratory. Water quality analyses include the following parameters: Suspended Sediment Solids, Chloride, Ammonium, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen, Nitrate plus Nitrite, Total Phosphorus, and Soluble Phosphorus.

Monthly baseflow samples are also collected throughout the year to determine the contributions of Black Creek during low-flow conditions. All storm and baseflow samples are collected similarly to other streamgages in the Great Lakes study region to ensure results are comparable among watersheds.

The USGS will continue to monitor water quality parameters at the Black Creek near Harlan, IN site as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Edge of Field monitoring project on a 5 year study to determine the effects of changes in nutrient management and cover crop adoption on agricultural fields in the headwaters of the Black Creek watershed.

Why Continuous Monitoring is Important

Water quality in the Black Creek watershed is influenced by nearby surrounding land use and the management of headwater drainage basins. Contributions of excess sediment and nutrients from upstream contributing headwater streams pose a concern to the water chemistry and ecological structure in downstream rivers and lakes.

The effects of poor water quality and changes/loss of aquatic habitat due to anthropogenic factors, impact both fish and macroinvertebrate communities which inhabit streams and rivers. Alterations of the ecosystems in headwater streams, including water quality and biological factors, additionally affect downstream rivers which contribute to the Western Lake Erie basin of the Great Lakes.

The water quality information collected by the USGS at the Black Creek near Harlan, IN gage will be used to understand the effectiveness of nutrient management strategies in agricultural fields and the influence of these practices on downstream drainage basins; with the goal of using these strategies to further reduce nutrient and sediment loading from all contributions into the Western Lake Erie basin.

USGS Fact Sheet 2015-3041 provides more detailed information about super gages, how they operate, and the data they collect.

Contact Information

Edward G. Dobrowolski
(317) 600-2735

Matt Komisky
(608) 821-3824