Bowman Creek is a two-mile long tributary to the St. Joseph River in South Bend, IN.  map of the creek

the Problem

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Over the years, the creek has become contaminated from a number of different sources along the creek, including a coal dismantle facility, paint factory, and defense plant. As the pollution worsened, residents grew less respectful for the creek, and started to treat it as a dump themselves. These contaminants in turn caused dangerous levels of E. coli and other bacteria. Fish can no longer survive in these conditions, and residents typically keep their distance from it in fear of the pathogen-infested water.

Water Level
Another problem is the water level of the creek. The water flow is very inconsistent due to poor water management. The pipes and culverts are old and improperly sized. This leads to the flooding of the creek when it rains and drying of the creek during droughts. Flooding in turn causes damage to homes along the creek.

the Goal

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The goal is for different forces in the South Bend community to join together, including the University of Notre Dame, Riley High School, and Sound Bend Park District, to restore this creek to its former glory.

Parks and Trails
Architects from the University of Notre Dame are drawing up plans for adding different attractions to the creek, such as parks and walking trails to enjoy.

This would entail redirecting the creek so that certain sections are above ground, bringing the water out into the open to get to a more natural state.

Raise Awareness
The team hopes to raise awareness in the community so that those who reside near and play by the creek join the effort to turn this into a respected and revered part of the City.


  • Click for more info University of Notre Dame
  • Click for more info Riley High School
  • Click for more info City of South Bend Public Works
  • Click for more info Click to find out how you can help, too!
  • Click to view Click here to see the American Society of Engineering Education video on the University of Notre Dame