The data collected in March and April of 2004 suggest that water quality in the Indian Creek did not contain dangerous levels of acids, nitrates, phosphates, or metals at that time (see test spreadsheet for data). Visual inspection of the area also revealed an environment that is generally in good condition (see photo gallery). Nitrates were higher than one would expect in a pristine environment, and likely indicate the runoff of agricultural land. Phosphates in most cases were slightly higher than a natural environment, and one test in particular showed a reading that could lead to algae bloom or other aesthetic and biological problems. This test was taken at Lanagan on the same day that an Anderson phosphate test (upstream) revealed a much lower reading. The difference in readings between Anderson and Lanagan most likely indicates that the phosphates are either running off from farmland between the two communities, or are being contributed from septic tanks in and around Lanagan. Although the remaining water quality tests fell within the acceptable range, seasonality issues may have skewed the data to look better than average annual conditions. Heavy rains over the course of the study contributed to higher water levels and overall dilution of Indian Creek's normal water chemistry. Future tests taken over a longer time period and during low water time periods would better represent overall annual conditions.

Despite generally positive results in the chemical testing, research teams took note of many neglected areas in and around Lanagan (see photo gallery). For example, one team found evidence of illegal trash dumping in Anderson, including a stream filled with garbage next to a new housing development. It was also noted that the protective stream-side vegetation (riparian corridor) that serves as a boundary between farmlands and the Indian Creek is disappearing in some areas. This riparian corridor protects stream banks from erosion and preserves water quality by filtering sediment and some chemicals from runoff. Chemicals and pesticides used in agriculture will easily enter the Indian Creek if this boundary no longer exists.

Land development in McDonald County, Missouri is expected to boom in the near future because of continued growth in northwest Arkansas, new housing plans, and the extension of Highway 71. Residents need to be aware of the effects that land clearing, residential, and industrial development can have on the environment's natural filtering system. Lessons should be learned from the current septic tank problems and applied toward the planning of new developments. If development does not take water quality into consideration, portions of Indian Creek and the Elk River could be lost to recreational use, as has happened to portions of the James River and Finley River in the Springfield, Missouri area in recent years.