Silver Creek & Sleepy Hollow Creek Watershed Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance Assessment
For the Cities of Crystal Lake and McHenry, and the Villages of Oakwood Hills and Prairie Grove
Communities throughout the Chicago region have been regularly updating stormwater regulations to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff. One of the strategies is to require or encourage the use of green infrastructure and other best management practices that can filter, infiltrate, cool, and cleanse stormwater runoff before reaching the receiving body of water. These techniques also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff during major storm events and thereby prevent flooding of private property and reduce channel and bank erosion within the community's waterways. Steps to improve the infiltration of stormwater can also help communities maintain groundwater capacity and maintain lake levels during drought conditions.
In addition to stormwater ordinances, municipalities are also updating local plans and subdivision, zoning, and landscaping ordinances to remove barriers and ensure that development codes reduce natural resource impacts. Municipal plans and ordinances have the ability to guide the location of development and reduce the amount of impervious surfaces associated with new construction. These same local land use policies and regulations can also promote the preservation of natural areas and open spaces by encouraging infill development in areas that are already served by existing infrastructure, as well as by allowing flexible layout options to keep natural areas and features intact.
The Silver Creek & Sleepy Hollow Creek Watershed Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance Assessment is a continuation of efforts to reduce the negative impacts of stormwater runoff, protect natural resources, and improve the quality of life in our region's watersheds. This project is just one part of the implementation of the 2011 Silver Creek and Sleepy Hollow Creek Watershed Action Plan, which was developed for these two subwatersheds of the Upper Fox River Basin. The Watershed Action Plan inventoried existing natural resources and land use features in the watershed planning area; identified policy, planning, and stormwater management recommendations to protect and improve water quality; and recommends site-specific actions and projects. One of the central recommendations is to update municipal plans and ordinances to better protect surface water and groundwater quality and quantity as well as natural areas and open space. The Cities of Crystal Lake and McHenry, and the Villages of Oakwood Hills and Prairie Grove applied for assistance to begin this first step of implementing the Watershed Action Plan.