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

Vermilion River Watershed TMDL Report

This report is a step in the total maximum daily load process for the Vermillion River Watershed. The purpose of this TMDL report is to provide details and impairments of the watershed, give allocations and reductions, and provide a plan on how to implement the allocations and reductions. This report contains detailed information about the soil, climate, water quality, and water pollution in the watershed. Pollution is broken down into the point source and non-point source categories, and information on how the public can help to improve the water quality is included.

Vermilion River Watershed TMDL Report

McLean County, Illinois Stream Buffer Regulations

Article VII of this document contains regulations pertaining to establishing, maintaining and protecting areas of vegetation surrounding all streams within the local jurisdiction. This document also proposes to establish a minimal requirement for designing buffers to protect the water supplies in McLean County. Additionally, information about applying for permits for development near stream sites and design standards for proposed developments are included.

McLean County Stream Buffer Regulations

Normal, Illinois Stream Buffer Ordinance

Section 28.2 of this document contains regulations pertaining to establishing, maintaining and protecting  areas of vegetation surrounding all streams within the local jurisdiction. This document also proposes to establish a minimal requirement for designing buffers to protect the water supplies in Normal. Additionally, information about applying for permits for development near stream sites and design standards for proposed developments are included.

Normal stream buffer ordinance

Summary of the Mackinaw River Watershed Management Plan 1998

The Mackinaw River Project Planning Team worked with experts to form a plan for improving water quality. The plan includes strategies, achievable goals, and specific recommendations. Sources of pollution were identified as agriculture, construction erosion, urban runoff, hydrologic modifications, and resource extraction activities. Recommendations were made for each of the following topics: agriculture, biological diversity, community issues, education, and agency coordination.

Summary of the Mackinaw River Watershed Management Plan 1998

Mackinaw River Watershed Project Implementation of Subwatershed Plans 7, 8, and 9

This project intends to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Mackinaw River and its tributaries. The primary focus of this effort will be the installation of Best Management Practices including nutrient management, forest and riparian management, wetland restoration, wetland construction, streambank restoration using native vegetation, rural detention basins, and alternative water devices for cattle that currently access the river for water.

Mackinaw_River_Watershed_Project_Implementation_of_Subwatershed_Plans_789

Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois

This manual presents an approach to watershed-based planning designed to ensure that local stakeholders play a central role in the development of comprehensive, multi-issue watershed plans. A watershed approach to planning for and managing land and water resources is not a new idea. The USEPA argues that groups working within the watershed-based approach can identify and implement successful strategies to maintain and restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.

 Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois

WATER: Just How Clean Is It?

The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, is responsible for cleaning up the acts of our country’s largest point-source polluters. This has lead to a significant improvement in the water quality of our major lakes and rivers. However, as long as there are humans on this planet, both point-source pollution and non-point-source pollution will continue to exist. Just like any other river, the Mackinaw has its share of polluters, which in reality, includes every one of us who live in the Mackinaw watershed. Since we all need and depend on the water in the river and the watershed, we all need to be a part of an effort to minimize our own negative impacts on water quality.

WATER: Just How Clean Is It?

Henline Creek Managemet Plan

A detailed analysis of resources and problems with the Henline Creek subwatershed is presented. In order to address these problems, goals and objectives are set, and specific implementation strategies are determined.
The strategies are focused on solving the problems of volatile solids entering through drainage systems and threatening the water quality, limited wetland habitat and poorly developed riparian (river bank) zones, and lack of environmental awareness among watershed residents.

Henline Creek Managemet Plan