Four boat ramps in the City of Fort Wayne provide access to the St. Joseph, St. Mary's and Maumee Rivers.

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pdfMap of boat ramp locations

 

 

 

 

 

shoaff

Shoaff Park Boat Ramp -- see map

  • Gravel ramp on St. Joseph River
  • Vehicle parking available
  • Located near the Riverlodge on the west side of Park
  • Operated by Fort Wayne Parks Dept.

 

 

jappleseed

Johnny Appleseed Park Boat Ramp -- see map

  • Located downstream of the St. Joe Dam
  • Concrete/gravel ramp on St. Joseph River
  • Vehicle parking nearby
  • Operated by Fort Wayne Parks Department

  

 

  

guildin

Guildin Park Boat Ramp -- see map

  • Located north of Sherman Street bridge and east of Michaels Street
  • Gravel ramp on St. Mary’s River
  • Handicap accessible
  • Vehicle parking available
  • Operated by Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Maumee River Boat Ramp -- see map

  • Located across North River Road from Kreager Park
  • Concrete ramp
  • Parking available

River Levels

Fort Wayne's rivers are natural systems and, just like other rivers, the levels and depths fluctuate for a variety of reasons during many times of the year. Fort Wayne City Utilities has a limited ability to affect river levels by adjusting two dams - one on the St. Joseph River near Johnny Appleseed Park and one on the Maumee River near Anthony Boulevard bridge.

Maumee River & Hosey Dam 

Fort Wayne City Utilities can lower river levels by a few feet by opening a gate at the Hosey Dam on the Maumee River and allowing more water to flow downstream. Opening this "tainter" gate is similar to opening a drain in a bathtub. However the difference is that opening the gate does not allow the rivers to empty completely. Even when the gate is open, only a limited amount of water can flow out of the river system. So it is possible to have river flooding even if the gate is open. The likelihood of flooding depends on the amount of rain received in the City and upstream on the St. Joseph and St. Mary's Rivers.

hosey003Between October 15 and April 15, the tainter gate is left open and rivers fall to a low winter pool level. Between April 15 and October 15, the tainter gate is typically closed and the rivers rise to their normal summer pool level. Sometimes during the summer, the level of Fort Wayne's rivers may be lowered for planned construction or maintenance projects. Log jam removal, bridge or dam repairs, and sewer improvement projects are just some examples of work that might necessitate the lowering of river levels. The Tainter Gate Policy was established in 2007.


St. Mary's River

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) operates several river level gauges around Fort Wayne. The gauge located on the St. Mary's River at the Main Street bridge most clearly shows the impact of opening or closing of the tainter gate. Real time data showing the depth of the St. Mary's River at the Main Street Bridge is available from the USGS. If it has not bee raining, looking at the USGS data before and after the tainter gate is adjusted can give you an idea of how changing the gate affects river levels in Fort Wayne. The USGS can provide you with instant, customized updates of water conditions through their Water Alert Program.

St. Joseph River

In the spring, the level of the St. Joseph River north of the dam at Coliseum and North Anthony Boulevard is raised. This is done by inserting extensions called "flashboards" that raise the level of the dam so that more water can pull upstream. This helps to ensure that the City has an adequate supply of raw water to use for making treated water during the dry summer months.

The flashboards are usually put in place in April and removed in October or November. In order to insert or remove the flashboards, the river level on the St. Joseph River upstream of the dam must be temporarily lowered so that work can be done safely. The water level is lowered by opening gates at the St. Joseph River Dam and allowing water to fall to a lower level upstream of the dam. After the boards are installed, the gates are closed and river levels return to normal. It typically takes one to two days to adjust river levels.

Special Events Affected by Water Levels

If you are planning an event that rewuries the City's rivers be certain levels - either high or low- please email City Utilities at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will make every effort to accommodate requests if possible. Requests for river level adjustments must be received at least 30-days in advance of the event. 

A Consent Decree issued by the United States Department of Justice in 2008 documents an agreement between the City of Fort Wayne, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) for improving river water quality and reducing negative effects from Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) events.
 
The Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) for the City of Fort Wayne, which is incorporated into the Consent Decree, describes a water quality-based approach that will dramatically reduce the discharge of untreated CSOs, improve water quality in Fort Wayne's CSO-impacted streams, is technically feasible, and is consistent with federal CSO Control Policy and associated Indiana guidance.

The Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long-Term Control Pan (LTCP) for the City of Fort Wayne describes a water quality-based approach that will dramatically reduce the discharge of untreated CSOs, improve water quality in Fort Wayne's CSO-impacted streams, is technically feasible, and is consistent with federal CSO Control Policy and associated Indiana guidance. This plan is part of the consent decree issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to improve water quality. 

What is grease and why is it a concern? 

Grease is found in many common household products, including meat, butter and margarine, shortening, lard, food scraps, dairy products, cooking oil, and sauces.

As grease gets poured down the drain and enters the sewer, it hardens and builds up over time. This creates blockages in the sewer and causes sewer back-ups and overflows. A sewage back-up into your house or your neighbor's can damage plumbing and your belongings. These damages are costly to fix and the increase in operations and maintenance on the sewer system may lead to higher sewer bills. Sewage also contains harmful bacteria and may attract disease-carrying organisms like vermin or insects. Sewage overflows may also enter local beaches and may be a hazard to swimmers and marine life.

grease in roots

 

Can homeowners do to prevent grease from entering the sewer system? 

  • Be aware of the products you are pouring down the drain
  • Educate friends and family about the proper disposal of grease
  • Follow the suggestions below for disposing of grease properly
  • Never pour grease down the drain or toilet
  • Scrape pans and dishes into the trash before rinsing or washing them
  • Garbage disposals grind food and grease into smaller pieces but do not keep grease out of the sewer system. Grease and food waste containing fats, oils and grease should go in the trash.
  • Commercial additives and household detergents claim to dissolve grease, but they only move the grease into a drain or sewer line where it may harden and cause a blockage
  • If disposing of large amounts of grease, place the grease in a can or a milk jug with a lid and put the can in the trash
  • Mix the grease with an absorbent material such as sawdust or kitty litter to prevent leaks while it is being transported to the trash

How can restaurants and building owners help?

  • Install grease traps or interceptors. For them to work properly:
    • They must be designed to handle the amount of great that is expected
    • They must be properly installed
    • They must be maintained (cleaned and serviced on a regular basis)
    • Solids should never be put into grease traps or interceptors
  • Educate your employees on the subject of proper grease disposal. City Utilities can provide you with information on typical kitchen and clean-up practices that can reduce the amount of grease leaving your kitchen.

How is the City of Fort Wayne helping prevent sewer back-ups?

  • Line Flushing - Sewer line flushing or jetting involves putting a high-pressure water hose into a sewer line and using the water to move accumulated debris in the sewer. Sometimes the material is then vacuumed out of the sewer line at the next manhole or the material may be allowed to flow on to the sewage treatment plant. 
  • Degreasing - City Utilities tracks sewer lines that frequently become clogged with grease. These lines, which are often in areas with a high concentration of restaurants, are put on a routine schedule  for degreasing. Degreasing involves using high pressure water to remove grease that has accumulated on the walls of sewer pipes. Sometimes it is necessary to cut away grease blocages and vacuum them out of the sewer lines, especially if the grease has accumulated on tree roots growing into the sewer lines. 
  • Root removal - Tree roots frequently grow in sewer lines. Roots may enter the sewer through tiny cracks and may grow large enough inside the sewer line to cause a blockage. City Utilities uses a remotely-controlled sawing device to cut the roots then vacuums them out of the sewer. 

 truckA combination flusher/vacuum truck can both flush or "jet" sewer lines with high pressure water and vacuum out debris

 What do I do in the event of a sewer back-up?

  • In the event of a sewer back-up in your home, contact City Utilities by dialing 311 from 7:30am-5:30pm
  • After these hours or on the weekend, please listen to the prompts in the 311 recorded message and follow the directions to reach the Sewer Department
  • For more information on proper clean up in the event of a sewer back up docclick here