Posted on April 14, 2011 2:25 PM
Water 2050 Update, 4-14-11
Progress from CMAP
Upcoming water resource forums. CMAP will host two more water resource forums before the end of FY2011 to promote and educate on issues from Water 2050. On May 6, CMAP will cohost a forum, "Groundwater Protection: Science, Planning, and Action," with the Delta Institute from 9:00 a.m. to noon. One panel of speakers will address the state of the science as it relates to policy makers, planners, and water managers, and another panel will consider lessons learned, costs, and benefits of other state programs that are designed to protect groundwater resources. Elected officials, city managers, and public water supplier staff are encouraged to attend this free event and learn how to improve their position regarding groundwater stewardship. The agenda will be available in coming weeks. RSVP to email@example.com.
CMAP will host the following water resource forum on June 9. The forum will focus on valuation of water resources. Economic valuation plays a key role in informing more efficient and sustainable integrated water resources management decisions about our water supply, wastewater and stormwater management, and green infrastructure investment. This forum will provide information to policymakers, sustainability managers and officers, and others on measuring and incorporating water resource values into decision-making. More information will be available in coming weeks on our new Water 2050 forums webpage, which also includes information and presentations from our previous forums.
FPA update. Facility Planning Areas (FPAs) are defined as areas considered for wastewater treatment service within a 20-year planning period. Last year, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) announced that it would no longer deny state construction permits for domestic sewer extensions based solely on the projects inconsistency with an FPA boundary. To date, CMAP and its Wastewater committee challenged IEPA’s position and asked the agency to honor CMAP’s Areawide Water Quality Planning obligations under both the Clean Water Act and the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan. More information regarding this matter may be found by viewing materials from the March 9, 2011 Wastewater committee meeting.
Progress in the Region
Watershed planning. CMAP and local planning partners The Conservation Foundation and Environmental Defenders of McHenry County are continuing the watershed planning process in the Fox River Basin. At the spring meetings, Resource Inventories were presented. Resource Inventories are a collection of the publically available data in each watershed, including CMAP Land Use, FEMA Floodplain and USDA Soil Data. These data, when analyzed by staff and stakeholders, yield information that can be used to help formulate watershed-plan recommendations. The resource inventories also help to make clear where the data gaps are and where new data collection efforts could take place. For more information regarding the planning process and dates/locations for upcoming meetings, please visit the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership website.
Buffalo Creek stabilization. The Chicago Metro chapter of the American Public Works Association selected the Buffalo Creek Phase 1 Streambank Stabilization project as the recipient of its 2011 "Environment - Less than $5 million" award. CMAP served as the project coordinator, administrator, and technical advisor, and the project was funded with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds.
The Village of Wheeling project is located in along the most severely eroded reaches of Buffalo Creek/Wheeling Ditch (Buffalo Creek) and consists of 3,131 feet of Buffalo Creek north of Valley Stream Drive. A systematic approach in evaluation and repairs of stream bank segments was used, as well as structural and bio-technical techniques to stabilize and enhance the riparian corridor, reduce loss of real estate, and improve water quality and aquatic habitat in Buffalo Creek. This included installation of gabion baskets which provides stabilization at a variety of flows and bank grading with a stone toe to prevent erosion.
Regional Stormwater Ordinances. Several counties in northeastern Illinois are in the process of creating new and revising existing stormwater and floodplain management ordinances. The public comment period for the Revised DuPage County Countywide Stormwater and Flood Plain Ordinance ended on March 4. Please visit their stormwater ordinance webpage for future updates and possible revisions. The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission recently extended the public comment period on the Watershed Development Ordinance Amendments Packet. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is currently developing a countywide Watershed Management Ordinance for Cook County. CMAP staff acknowledges the efforts made throughout the region to continually improve ordinances to further provide protection to our natural resources.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Across the nation, improperly disposed of pharmaceuticals end up in our drinking water. On April 30, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its partners will hold a nationwide second annual "Take-Back" Day from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (CST). Community law enforcement agencies can register their own local take-back event by calling the DEA Field Division office in their area, and the public can find a collection site by visiting http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.htm. The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant will be working with communities to help facilitate local collection events.
WOWW. Visit the What’s Our Water Worth (WOWW) website, hosted by Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and Openlands, to hear about how different businesses and residents value and use water in our region. This month’s story is on King Car Wash in Westmont. Last month’s story was about water efficiency practices discovered on the Goose Island Brewery Tour.
Watershed comments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requesting comments on a draft technical document, “Identifying and Protecting Healthy Watersheds.” The report includes examples of assessments of healthy watersheds, management approaches, and numerous case studies from across the country. The comment period ends on June 3 and a final report is scheduled for release in October.
Water in the News
Deep Tunnel. Delays in the completion of the Deep Tunnel project and the impact of recent intense storms in the region were both highlighted in the Chicago Tribune. The Deep Tunnel system that was expected to be complete by 1983 might take more than a decade before being fully utilized. At the same time, overflows that are not handled by the Deep Tunnel are funneled to Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, resulting in threats to human health and wildlife as well as potential legal action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ask Your Plumber. CMAP’s Tim Loftus recorded three messages that will be aired on WBBM-AM 780’s “Ask Your Plumber” radio segment. Sponsored by the Plumbing Council of Chicagoland, the first segment will air on April 16 and feature a short discussion about rainwater harvesting and new legislation that, if passed by the Illinois General Assembly, would allow for the capture and nonpotable use of this abundant source of water. On May 21, a second segment will air on the importance of installing WaterSense-labeled fixtures. A third segment will focus on general regional water supply issues at a date yet to be determined. “Ask Your Plumber” airs at approximately 8:36 a.m. on Saturday mornings. CMAP thanks the Plumbing Council of Chicagoland for helping to promote some of Water 2050’s messages and for their past support for regional water supply planning. Water counts!
About the Water 2050 newsletter
Regional water-resource stewardship took a giant leap forward on January 26, 2010, when the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) unanimously approved a plan that aims to avoid imbalances between water demand and regional supplies. Read more in this press release. Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan was developed over the past three years by CMAP staff with input and guidance from the RWSPG, the Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The next steps we must take as a region to implement water plan recommendations are equally important. A new commitment to water-use conservation and demand management is the cornerstone of the water plan. Among the attributes of any successful conservation program are political leadership, stable funding, education, and outreach. This Water 2050 newsletter is designed to be one such outreach mechanism. This newsletter will be issued on the second Thursday of every other month. This will be a means to communicate newsworthy items, share valuable resources, and promote ongoing and diverse efforts around water resources planning and management, both at CMAP and throughout the region. We are interested in your water news! This newsletter will feature local examples of water planning and conservation, so please contact Justine Reisinger (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8802) with your news and examples.