Final Report: Your Water Your Future – A Residential Household Survey To Assess Our Water Future

water_reportThe 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.

Final Report: Your Water Your Future – A Residential Household Survey To Assess Our Water Future

Study Report

Water Your Opinions: A Social Assessment of the Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watersheds

Study ReportThe Mclean County Soil and Water Conservation District, in collaboration with Illinois State University, has received funding from the Illinois EPA to conduct a watershed social assessment, with an emphasis on the Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watersheds.  Water supply and water quality are critically important issues for both human health and the health of the natural environment we depend on to meet our basic needs. Despite the importance of water to our society, pollution and poor planning for how we use our water resources are growing problems. To address these issues the US EPA and the Illinois EPA provide funding for plans to protect these resources at the watershed scale. Efforts to plan for water use and protect water quality in watershed plans must incorporate social science to be successful, as it is people’s understandings and behaviors that must change to protect our water resources.

The first step in the current research process was a qualitative assessment of current perceptions, concerns, and desires for water resources in and around the watersheds by interviewing key stakeholders.  This assessment was conducted by Graduate Students at the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development between August and December, 2014.  The attached report documents the initial findings from this process.  These data will be used to help develop a residential household survey that will be administered to a random selection of households in Bloomington, Normal, Hudson, and Towanda during May, 2015.

Overall, the project has five primary goals:

  • Evaluate urban resident’s general level of knowledge and concerns of water quality and the effects of their activities on water quality and the practices they currently use that effect water quality (BMPs)
  • Evaluate onsite waste system knowledge and practice
  • Evaluate knowledge of and opinions of water conservation activities on water quality and quantity
  • Provide critical data to direct future outreach and education efforts
  • Provide vital social data to inform an update of the current watershed management plans to more directly address social aspects of watershed management for the future.

Water Your Opinions: A Social Assessment of the Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watersheds

Illinois Vermillion River Watershed Rapid Watershed Assessment Report

This assessment report provides information about the Vermillion Watershed and where conservation efforts are most needed in order to help local landowners and community officials. Information about annual precipitation, drainage, hydric soils, quaternary deposits, aquifers, nitrates, and ground conversation is included in this report.

 

Illinois Vermillion River Watershed Rapid Watershed Assessment Report

Fiscal Costs and Public Safety Risks of Low-Density Residential Development on Farmland

This report presents findings from three diverse geographic areas of low−density residential development on agricultural land in Northeastern Illinois. By low−density housing built on farmland, we mean either one or a combination of two development patterns: (1) homes built on large lots − such as on one or more acres per dwelling unit − or (2) houses with smaller lots but located in developments that are scattered so that a half−mile or more of farmland separates one development from the other. With residential scatter it is likely that large distances separate the homes from schools, fire stations, rescue squads, grocery stores, pharmacies and other providers of essential services. In these three study sites, they looked for whether the distances generate fiscal costs and public safety risks that could be avoided or reduced in more compact development.

Fiscal Costs and Public Safety Risks of Low-Density Residential Development on Farmland

What’s in Your Woodlands

In order to address problems with invasive species and loss of water quality due to pollution, this project would provide targeted small landowners in Woodford County an educational opportunity via a workshop on woodland and riparian establishment, restoration, and management. Topics covered in the workshop would include tree identification, tree planting and thinning techniques, prescribed burning, eradication of exotic species, and other practices that enhance woodland and riparian areas for wildlife habitat. The workshop would include speakers and displays from IDNR, NRCS, and other professional organizations or businesses, and also provide for a tour of properties where management strategies have been utilized.

What’s in Your Woodlands

Mackinaw River Watershed Council Newsletter

This is the final newsletter of the Mackinaw River Watershed Council. The President, Mary Jo Adams, looks back on the accomplishments made in improving water quality in the Mackinaw River Watershed. She also announces that a new group, the Mackinaw River Ecosystems Partnership, will be stepping up to continue duties previously designated to the Mackinaw River Watershed Council.

Mackinaw River Watershed Council Newsletter

Isolated: Illinois Wetlands at Risk, Sierra Club

The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club set out to determine the impact of this decision upon Illinois’ wetlands; particularly wetlands in the northeastern part of Illinois; which according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has the highest number of isolated wetlands in the State. The Chicago District includes the six counties in northeastern Illinois: Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Cook and Will counties, corresponding to the footprint of greater metropolitan Chicago. It is also the region of the state, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, with the most isolated wetlands. Research shows that Wetlands are worth saving because of their benefits to both humans and wildlife.

Isolated: Illinois Wetlands at Risk, Sierra Club

Town of Normal Flood Code

This document contains flood hazard area development regulations for the Town of Normal. Information included is intended to: prevent unwise developments from increasing flood or drainage hazards to others; protect new buildings and major improvements to buildings from flood damage; promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens from the hazards of flooding; to lessen the burden on the taxpayer for flood control, repairs to public facilities and utilities, and flood rescue and relief operations to maintain property values and a stable tax base by minimizing the potential for creating blight areas to make federally subsidized flood insurance available; and to preserve the natural characteristics and functions of watercourses and floodplains in order to moderate flood and stormwater impacts, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, protect aquatic and riparian habitat, provide recreational opportunities, provide aesthetic benefits, and enhance community and economic development.

Town of Normal Flood Code

Clinton Lake Watershed Plan

Based upon the information gathered, the Clinton Lake Watershed Resource Planning Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, and project planning staff have identified sedimentation and contaminants as the primary sources of water quality degradation in the Clinton Lake Watershed. Sedimentation and contaminants are threatening the health and recreational value of the lake and its tributaries. The continuing influence of these sources is due to minimal public awareness regarding water quality issues and influences; nonpoint source runoff from agricultural and residential practices, including conventional tillage and application of nutrients; and exposed streambanks and lakeshore throughout the watershed. Incorporated into the objectives are action items that will increase awareness and build partnerships throughout the watershed.

Clinton Lake Watershed Plan