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Articles by Leslie Dorworth

Leslie E. Dorworth (MS, oceanography, Old Dominion University) specializes in water quality issues pertinent to the southern Lake Michigan region for the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program. Ms. Dorworth’s position is housed on the Purdue University Calumet campus in Hammond, Ind. Her responsibilities include outreach to various stakeholders in Indiana and Illinois, research, and teaching. Currently, her outreach efforts are focused on river restoration, beach closures, and fish consumption advisories.

Featured Article

A sign near the Cal Sag channel, part of the Calumet River System, warns against “any human body contact.”Photo courtesy Tom Gill via FlickrThe Grand Calumet River is about 13 miles long and flows through one of the most industrialized areas in the United States. At one time, the river’s branches and tributaries flowed throughout northwest Indiana and supported globally unique fish and wildlife. Today, thanks to being moved and manipulated by humans over the years, the Calumet river system is one of the smallest watersheds in the region, and there are stretches of river that support nothing but sludge worms.

How did this happen? Two words: people and industry.

Over the last 100 years, the industrialization of northwest Indiana has created the landscape -– and the river — we see today. Unmanaged pollution from industrial activities and human development has severely degraded the ecological integrity of the watershed.

The sources of pollution include urban runoff, landfills, dumpsites, industrial manufacturing and processing, and sewage treatment plants. The river has high levels of bacteria, nutrients, cyanides, lead, arseni... Read more

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  • Cleanup efforts bring life back to Grand Calumet River

    Grand Calumet River near Gary AirportLeslie DorworthThe first time I saw the Grand Calumet River, I was driving down the Indiana Toll Road. It was 1996, and I had just arrived in northwest Indiana from North Carolina to take a new job as an aquatic ecology extension specialist with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program. All […]