The continued expansion in residential growth in McLean County impacts water quality and quantity in many ways, including raising concerns about the availability of water for the future. Yet, much of the current research on non-point source pollution continues to focus on agricultural producers as the primary source, with very little emphasis on the impacts from the growing residential populations. To address these concerns, Mclean County Soil and Water Conservation District, in collaboration with Illinois State University, conducted a watershed social assessment, with an emphasis on the Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake Watersheds, during the summer of 2015. A random sample of 939 households in Bloomington, north Normal, Towanda, Hudson, and Lake Bloomington were selected to participate in the survey and a total of 550 households completed the survey, for an overall response rate of 58%.
Overall, respondents generally agree that they have a personal responsibility to protect water quality. Findings from this study will be used to help inform and design future outreach and education activities to increase the adoption of BMPs among the growing residential population. Findings will also be used to help update the current watershed management plans for Lake Bloomington Watershed and Evergreen Lake Watershed to better address the growing residential population. Funding for this project provided, in part, by the Governor of Illinois and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.