Posted on August 12, 2010 4:46 PM
Water 2050 Update, 8-12-10
Progress from CMAP
Green infrastructure study. On June 30, 2010, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) submitted to the Governor's office its final report, Using Green Infrastructure to Manage Urban Stormwater Quality in fulfillment of PA 96-26. CMAP started work on this project, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, in August 2008. Using Green Infrastructure for stormwater management is a recommendation that we make in the Land and Water chapter of Water 2050 and in the Manage and Conserve Water and Energy Resources section of GO TO 2040. Additionally, CMAP is represented in the committees mentioned in IEPA director Douglas Scott's letter (Green Infrastructure Grants Program and the State Revolving Funds Advisory Committees). We hope that these steps will take us closer to implementation of both plans.
Watershed plans. CMAP entered into an agreement with IEPA to complete four watershed-based plans within the Fox River basin, including the watersheds of Blackberry Creek, Ferson-Otter, Silver Creek, and Sleepy Hollow Creek watershed. Funding for these projects was provided by the IEPA through Section 604(b) of the Clean Water Act. CMAP has partnered with The Conservation Foundation, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, and the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership to complete these plans. The first stakeholder meetings are expected to take place in early September. Please contact Megan Elberts (email@example.com or 312-386-8794) if you are interested in receiving more information or becoming involved in the watershed planning process.
NPS management program. IEPA receives federal funds through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act to help implement the Illinois' Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Program. The purpose of this program is to work cooperatively with local units of government and other organizations toward the goal of protecting the quality of Illinois' waters by controlling NPS pollution. CMAP assisted numerous local municipalities, agencies, and organizations in implementing projects designed to reduce NPS pollution to the region's rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands. CMAP serves as technical advisor, project coordinator, and grant administrator to the local project sponsors. Below are some highlights from three 319(h) funded projects managed by CMAP in our region. Click here for before and after photos of the projects.
The Village of West Dundee received funds and completed construction of two bioinfiltration facilities near the Fox River in northeastern Kane County, Illinois. The facilities were designed to receive and treat urban runoff from streets, a parking lot, roof area, and lawns before discharging into the Fox River. The bioretention facilities were designed to reduce sediments, nutrients, metals, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants released into the river. One facility is approximately 1,000 square feet in size and located at the end of Oregon Street, and the other facility is approximately 600 square feet in size and located at the end of Fay Avenue.
On Friday, July 16, Dundee Township celebrated the grand opening of its newest Open Space restoration and water quality improvement project. The project includes restoring and reclaiming a 160-acre site on Jelkes Creek, a tributary of the Fox River, located southwest of the Village of Sleepy Hollow in northern Kane County, Illinois. Approximately 160 acres, or 67% of the total 239-acre site, were severely disturbed and degraded due to historical gravel quarry operations. The mining activities created several topsoil berms, spoil piles, and extensive moderately-to-steeply sloped areas that are poorly vegetated and exhibiting gully, sheet, and rill erosion. Water quality impacts on Jelkes Creek included siltation/sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, and habitat degradation.
This Project reclaimed and restored this 160-acre area by reconfiguring the site with several best management practices (BMPs) including: construction of six biofiltration swales to treat and infiltrate runoff from the site; conversion of existing ponds into stormwater wetlands to improve pollutant removal; and construction of stormwater detention basins to remove suspended and soluble nonpoint source pollutants, enhance habitat and aesthetics, and improve water retention and other beneficial hydrologic functions.
Dundee Township also held a grand opening ceremony for the Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary. Dundee Township is currently designing a series of educational signs for the site that will describe the BMPs that are now on the site.
The City of Aurora completed its work in several interrelated efforts to implement green infrastructure BMPs within the City's riverfront tax increment financing districts, brownfield sites, and planned sewer decombination areas in order to provide more effective treatment of urban runoff before it enters the Fox River. The overall project was designed to help improve water quality in the Fox River to reduce NPS pollutant deposition and improve water quality in the Fox River; develop a naturalized, dispersed stormwater management design to alleviate combined sewer overflow challenges; increase stormwater detention capacity; decrease stormwater discharge volumes to the Fox River; and create urban wildlife habitat through naturalized stormwater management and interconnected greenways. Work was completed along Lincoln Avenue and Spring Street.
Progress in the Region
Climate change adaptation. On July 7, the U.S. EPA - Region 5 office hosted a listening session for the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force at the Metcalfe Federal Building. The Task Force includes the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. EPA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of the Army/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The session was moderated by George Heartwell, Mayor of Grand Rapids, MI. The topics for the two panels included Great Lakes Ecosystems and Great Lakes Urban Infrastructure (view webcasts online). One of the main highlights of the discussion was security of water resources. Impacts on water quality, quantity, aquatic ecosystems, and on public health resulting from water-borne diseases, were also focuses of many of the presentations. Another focus was on increased energy efficiency and deployment of renewable energy sources. The Water 2050 report received a favorable mention when Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) deputy director Debbie Stone highlighted the plan as a pioneering effort in addressing water resources.
MeterSave. The City of Chicago's Water Quality Report includes a reminder that residents can participate in the MeterSave program by getting a meter installed for free. The city estimates that metering could decrease the average residential water bill by as much as 17 percent to 33 percent. The Water 2050 report notes that the estimated water savings with completion of a Universal Metering program in Chicago is 30 million gallons per day. To get on board, go to www.metersave.org. The Water Quality Report also included a sidebar on "Lawn Care and the Environment," reminding residents that their lawn care practices have an impact on the environment, including our water supply. The city encourages residents to learn more by visiting the U.S. EPA's Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment website, as well as the University of Illinois extensions website.
Water conservation challenge. The Village of Schaumburg hosted a Water Conservation Challenge, and Nathan Hale School won by saving over 817,000 gallons of water during the 2009/2010 school year. On July 15, the Village was also selected as the winner of ComEd's Community Energy Challenge and received $100,000 as a cash prize. In addition to the significant energy savings, Schaumburg was also able to save 900,000 gallons of water through their water conservation challenge and water efficiency upgrades to their fire station.
Water quality regulations. On August 24 and August 26, the U.S. EPA will host listening sessions on their proposed changes to water quality standards regulation. The existing regulation has been in place since 1983 and governs how states and authorized tribes adopt standards needed under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Some potential revisions include strengthening protection for water bodies with water quality that already exceeds or meets the interim goals of the CWA; ensuring that standards reflect a continued commitment to these goals wherever attainable; improving transparency of regulatory decisions; and strengthening federal oversight. Sessions will begin at 2:00 P.M. CDT. More information is available online.
Model Water Conservation Ordinance and WaterSense webinar. On September 9, the Illinois chapter of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) is hosting a webinar on CMAP's Model Water Conservation Ordinance and WaterSense products. Speakers include Cary McElhinney of U.S. EPA Region 5, as well as CMAP's own Amy Talbot and Hala Ahmed. The hour-long webinar begins at noon and costs $15 for AWWA members and $25 for non-AWWA members.
ACE11 call for papers. Our last newsletter reported on the American Water Works Association (AWWA) ACE10, which was held here in Chicago. Next year's ACE will be held June in Washington D.C. The conference call for papers will be open until September 13.
Asset management workshop. On September 17, the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) will host "Demystifying Asset Management: Everything You Need to Get Started." This one-day workshop will review best asset management practice internationally and provide a practical guide to developing approaches that will optimize the intervention time to deliver best value to consumers while minimizing water losses. Located in downtown Chicago, the workshop will provide a one-time opportunity to learn from one of the world's leading experts on this topic, Jo Parker. The cost is $35 per attendee and will include morning coffee, lunch and workshop materials. Download the agenda for a look at the program. To register for this event please RSVP with Jeffrey Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPCP bash. On October 8, the Safer Pest Control Project (SPCP) will be holding their annual Ladybug Bash! SPCP works to keep pesticides out of our environment and water by promoting natural lawn care. While you are on their website, you can also download a list of companies in the Midwest offering natural lawn care and read about the first municipal resolution in the state of Illinois to reduce the use of pesticides on public property.
Water conference. The 2011 Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference will be held from January 31 to February 1 in Washington D.C. The conference is currently accepting poster proposals through September 20, 2010. Check out the conference website or submit a poster proposal online.
WATERCON2011. The Illinois section of the AWWA and the Illinois Water Environment Association is hosting its second annual conference from March 21 to 24, 2011, in Springfield.
Assistance to rural water supply systems. In recognition of the diversity of our 11-county regional water supply planning area, CMAP is working with Bud Mason, technical assistance provider for the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP). Mason has over 25 years in managing and operating water and wastewater systems in Illinois and offers on site capacity building assistance along with training to rural communities on utility management and financial management for local officials. For more information contact Margaret Schneemann (email@example.com or 312-676-7456).
Campaign to save water. The U.S. EPA WaterSense program launched its new national campaign to encourage Americans to save water. Simple steps such as fixing leaky faucets or switching to WaterSense-labeled products may achieve significant savings. The 2010 CMAP Model Water Conservation Ordinance is a tool that local governments may use to attain these savings by using WaterSense products as well as other means.
Green Infrastructure. On June 30, Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2010, which would establish a Green Infrastructure Program within the Office of Water of the U.S. EPA. The program would distribute grants and establish Centers of Excellence for the research of green infrastructure practices and impacts.
Input requested. The U.S. EPA is inviting municipalities and small businesses to provide input on a proposed stormwater rule that could have a significant economic impact on small entities. The rule would strengthen the national stormwater program under the Clean Water Act. The rule's primary focus is stormwater dischargers from developed sites including subdivisions, roadways, commercial buildings, and shopping centers. The rule could, however, have a significant economic impact on small entities.
Stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. On July 19, 2010 President Obama signed an executive order adopting the interagency ocean policy task force recommendations, thereby creating a National Ocean Policy and creating the National Ocean Council that will foster collaborative stewardship of our ocean, coastal zone, and Great Lakes resources.
Water in the News
STOPS Runoff Act. On July 15, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland introduced the Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater Runoff Act to address stormwater runoff from the nation's highways through design standards and federal aid. The American Rivers organization wrote about the act on their blog.
Lake County plan. Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported on Lake County's quest for Lake Michigan water in the face of declining groundwater quality and over pumping. A collection of Lake County communities are requesting a total of 17 million gallons of Lake Michigan water a day from IDNR, the permitting agency. The decision on the allocation, originally expected at the end of July, has been pushed to the end of August.
Keeping oil out of the lake. Michigan is currently working on containing the oil spill from an Enbridge Inc. pipeline to prevent spread into Lake Michigan, northeast Illinois' main water supply source. The Kalamazoo Gazette reported on the clean up effort, including a graphic on the proximity of the spill location to Lake Michigan. Chicago area papers have also been reporting on the spill, including an editorial in the Tribune and some thoughts from Chicago's Mayor Daley.
Asian Carp and water management. Shortly after our last newsletter, an almost 20-pound Bighead Asian Carp was discovered in Lake Calumet. According to recent reports, the advance of Asian Carp in Lake Calumet may be attributed to human actions, i.e. "someone, by accident or by design, put the fish in the lake." The discovery of the Carp prompted the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to launch Envisioning a Chicago Area Waterway System for the 21st Century, an initiative addressing water management in the Chicago Region. Given the current buzz about whether the lock openings in late July provided free passage for Asian Carp into Lake Michigan (or not), it seems the region is ready for an integrated solution to our wastewater, stormwater, invasive species, and beach closure issues. For more information, see the news release and the fact sheet.
Warming of the Great Lakes. Several news articles this summer have discussed the warming of Lake Superior waters -- researchers attribute warming Great Lakes waters to decreased ice coverage of the lakes, meaning an earlier summer stratification dates. To learn more about how a changing climate is affecting Lake Superior, visit Minnesota Sea Grant's climate portal at www.seagrant.umn.edu/climate/.
Grand Calumet. You can read two articles by Leslie Dorworth, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant aquatic ecology specialist, on the status of the Grand Calumet River. The first speaks to how the Grand Calumet "went from diversity to dumpsite," while the second speaks to current efforts to restore the Grand Calumet.
McHenry Groundwater. The Northwest Herald published an article about the McHenry County's network of groundwater monitoring wells and recent upgrades they have made.
Beach Closures. The Chicago Tribune ran an informative article about the increased number of beach closures in the Chicago area and issues of communicating high E.Coli and bacterial levels to the public. Beach closures are expected to continue to increase as our region experiences more flooding -- last week Chicago area beaches were closed due to storm sewer discharge into Lake Michigan from the Chicago River locks and the Wilmette station.
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.