Free ILMA POD offered on Manual Weed Removal

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) will host another one of their FREE Point of Discussion (POD) sessions on Wednesday June 28th, from 6:30 – 7:30 at Pebble Beach Park on Gages Lake, 33399 N Sears Blvd, in Grayslake (Wildwood).  The focus of the POD will be manual weed removal.  Post POD discussion and refreshments will be available at Bake’s Pub & Grill nearby.  

More information to follow.

Turbid Illinois Launches Season 3

The week of May 22nd marks the official start of field data collection for Turbid Illinois Season 3.  Turbid Illinois is an Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) sponsored program which encourages self-exploration of our waters and the science that drives our water quality conditions.  The program is also partly supported through the Tower lakes Drain Partnership, which provided the initial sample sites.  This is as stands a completely 100% volunteer driven process.  Below is a few commonly asked questions about Turbid Illinois.

What is Turbid Illinois?

Turbid Illinois (TI) is a volunteer, stakeholder driven, citizen science initiative based off of similar citizen-based groups but with a much narrower focus.  Instead of periodic testing needing a lump sum time investment, the protocol attempts to minimize the time investment to achieve data replication and statistically viable sets of data points.  This allows the data to be used for trend and baseline analysis over a much shorter period of time.

How might this be important to me?

The idea surrounding this project is the simplified concept of “system in vs system out”.  Looking at water clarity at two geographically different points along a water body.  The original concept around TI was investigating daily baseline flow into and out of lakes and reservoirs to determine if the water body was serving to capture material or deliver downstream as a source.  Due to stakeholder interest we have included numerous stream or creek sample points throughout the watershed.  When we see dirty water we may be able to define it as a “load”.  Defining a baseline load will better determine when pulses or heavier watershed loads are affecting our lake and stream systems.  What are the possible reasons?

What equipment do I need?  Is it expensive?

One major goal of this project is to try and put some science in everyone’s hands without applying a price tag that inhibits that very concept.  You should have the following materials at your disposal every time you enter the field to pull samples.

  • 1 water bottle per sample site.  General drinking water bottle will work.
  • Device for measuring depth of water from water surface to water body bed.  I use a folding tape.
  • flashlight or suitable device if you sample late or very early morning.
  • boots if you plan on being in the water, although we recommend staying out of the water if possible
  • Bug spray is sometimes beneficial depending on how bad the spot is

While a few participants have taken it upon themselves to acquire their own means to process turbidity samples we are more than happy to process them for you.  Upon field collection store in a cold place or freeze and we will arrange a pick up for final processing.  If you process your own the data is shared.

I am just grabbing water?  Seems simple enough, is it?

Yes and no.  Physically speaking and in concept the process is very easy, however it is important to be consistent to ensure uniformity of samples.  Samples should strive to be taken at or as near as possible to the same location.  The collection process should be taken in a matter than best represents a typical sample is taken time and time again.  This ensures that the data holds value.  Should you chose to enter the water to sample you must do your best to ensure stream or lake bed materials do not enter your sample.  Once you have established a system of consistent collection, the process is extremely simple and your field time at each site will likely only be a few minutes.

What do we do after sample collection?

Coordinate with program director who you are already in contact with to coordinate pickup for turbidity analysis.  Typically samples should be stored as frozen unless the transfer is same day.  Even if the turnover time is short the sample should be refrigerated to minimize the decomposition of organic material which may slightly skew the final number.  Along these lines, anticipate a rotation of bottles if necessary to allow time for the processing to return bottles to you.

Where should I sample?

This is up to you!  Just a few things to consider.  You should never go onto private property without sufficient permission(s).  In this regard it is sometimes best to work within known public properties such as Village owned parcels or parks.  Avoid sampling areas near pipes, heavily eroded banks, very fast moving water, or areas that are unsafe to complete the sample process.

What happens to the data?

Right now the information is being built into a database repository with the hopes it will be useful for future purposes.  Essentially trend analysis of base water quality in the water bodies sampled.  TI strives to produce an annual document debriefing any significant findings.  Year 1 document is located here:

https://sites.google.com/site/4lakesinitiative/resource-center

Look for Turbid IL Master document.  Year 2 should be out soon.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact current program lead, Brian Valleskey at:

cruiserx43@gmail.com

or any standing IMLA officers or directors.  The list can be located at:

https://www.ilma-lakes.org/officers

 

 

Let’s Talk about Dams Part 1

Fresh off a recent presentation to the Spring Creek/ Flint Creek Watershed Partnership, I thought it might be a good time to post to the Illinois Lakes Blog regarding the subject.  Regardless if you are for or against them there is no doubt that dams are another set of aging infrastructure within the United States and there is little or no money directly available to remove or repair (more specifically public structures), leaving the unenviable “wait and see” circumstance.  This is Part 1 of a 2-part posting.

The oldest “registered”dam in the State of IL is the Fordham Dam in Rockford, on the Rock River listed as completed in 1852, although there are several on the Fox that are believed to be older with no official dates to confer.  The largest dam in the U.S. is the Oroville Dam which was the center of attention earlier this year when 180,000 people were evacuated downstream of the dam due to the potential threat of dam breach in February:  http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/18/oroville-dam-timeline-100-days-of-drama/.  There are an estimated 75,000 dams impounding 600,000 miles of river or about 17% of rivers in the nation.  7% of the nations total energy budget is still driven by hydroelectric power.

What the above total does not account for are the lesser dams which may not even appear as a dam to the unknowing eye.  In the State of Illinois along, estimates range in number of some 5,000  to 10,000 dams which fit this criteria.  The numbers range because the vast majority of dams remain unregistered.  Dams vary greatly in function and size, from impounding of reservoirs for stormwater management to impounding a lake for the purpose of hydroelectric power generation.

The State of Illinois Dam Safety Program officially began in 1980 as Public Act 91-1062.  This was briefly amended in 1983 and has remained largely intact as such to this day.  The program essentially classifies dams based on the perception of risk and potential for downstream damage, property loss, and loss of life.  This allows for a means to require individuals, corporations, governmental agencies, etc to inspect and maintain their dams.  The full Illinois Dam Safety Program can be viewed in greater detail here:  https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/WaterResources/Pages/DamSafetyProgram.aspx.

To keep this blog article somewhat relevant to lakes it may be best to keep the discussion centered around the impoundment of lakes and streams.  Within this context, a general  understanding of the basic safety guidelines and the possible environmental impacts of run of the river dams is useful.  Dams like anything else require maintenance.  Unlike infrastructure like roads and sanitary sewer they are unfortunately an afterthought to owners without the prodding of regulatory agencies.  The problem is that to many dam owners, the risk of eventual failure and downstream impact is minor in comparison to the economic impact of recurring maintenance.

To this end all registered dams must undergo a schedule of recurring inspection that is based on the assessed risk associated with the dam failure impact.  This is not necessarily unique to the state of Illinois.  The inspection must be photo documented and approved to meet the requirements of the state’s inspection protocol.  Any deficiencies are to be documented and slated to an improvement schedule also approved by the state.

While ILMA has been unable to receive a direct answer from the state regarding where the liability rests for a failure on an unregistered dam, insurance companies may opt to have dams inspected to determine rates for HOA’s, lake associations, lake districts, or other agencies who maintain or own them.  There appears to be a fine line between wanting to inspect on your own schedule or giving the state the jurisdiction to set the schedule.  It is quite possible that their are non-registered dams that undergo no inspection at all and also possible that landowners have no idea that a possible structure on their proper may qualify as a dam, and the inherent risk that may be associated with it.

By it’s very definition a dam can have quite a variable meaning.  Based on communication with State of Illinois Dams Division Head Paul Maurer, a dam is basically anything that impounds water, more from an artificial sense (manmade vs natural).  From a consulting standpoint approximately 1/3 of the dams that I have been personally involved with from a repair or inspection standpoint would be classified as a dam and were unregistered.  The owner either inherited the structure or it has always been unregistered and the owner has had no interest in getting it registered.  In the event that the structure should need repair, the registration may take place as part of the permitting process.  The process of registration in itself is not altogether pleasant as the owner must take it upon himself to hire qualified personnel to study and inspect the dam to properly rate and assess the condition.

Part 2 we talk more about the environmental issues surrounding dams.

~p0sted by Admin

Free ILMA Point of Discussion (POD) Offered April 19

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) is offering up another free to attend POD session at Port of Blarney in Antioch on April 19th (2017).  Starting at 6pm the POD session will feature Wild Goose Chase staff Vanessa Williams speak on how nuisance birds can impact water quality.  Some ILMA current and past (and perhaps future) Board members will also be on hand.  Join us for a few cold ones after to discuss everything lake and watershed.

2017 Illinois Lakes Conference Recap

The 2017 Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) Annual Conference was held at the Holiday Inn Crystal Lake on March 30-April 1.  Total attendance topped 150 people including the workshop on Saturday.  The conference featured an excellent variety of speakers and topics from NE Illinois and throughout the state and midwest.

The keynote session featured a split speaker session.  The first speaker John Scott Watson provided an interesting  perspective on a book he authored entitled “Prairie Crossing”, based upon the subdivision of that same name in Grayslake, Illinois.  The much talked about subdivision was discussed from concept through completion, including social outtakes and lessons learned.  The second keynote speaker was Joe Keller, the Executive Director of the Fox Waterway Agency (FWA).  Joe presented the current status of the agency, and where they hope to go in the future with the help of the waterway constituents.

Three student scholarships were presented; however with none of the students being able to attend the conference, little was gathered from their perspective line of study.  ILMA hopes both will be available at next year’s conference.  The scholarships are the ILMA scholarship ($1000), the Esser Scholarship ($500), and the Integrated Lakes Management (ILM) scholarship ($1000).  The annual secchi disk auction and conference raffles go to support the annual scholarship funds.

As done annually, the Frank Loftus, Lake Guardian, and Dick Hilton Watershed Awards were handed out at the annual banquet.  The Frank Loftus Awards was presented to William Krokus of the Lake Camelot HOA.  The recipient of the Lake Guardian Award was Leonard Dane of Duechler  Environmental, Inc. and the Dick Hilton Watershed Award was Brian Valleskey of Manhard Consulting, Ltd.  Further write-ups below:

William Krokus, Lake Camelot HOA, Recipient of Frank Loftus Award:

I have attended the ILMA Conferences and various meetings for the last five to six years, always bringing back to my community the information I had learned and what was shared with me regarding lake treatments, monitoring, plans, dredging of lakes from other communities. This information was always shared with my Boards, trying to impress upon them the need for us to begin to do the same. Then on the Board came William (Bill) Krokos. Within a period of 18 months, with many hours, days and even months of research Mr. Krokos took the opportunity and time to personally educate himself and others around him on the importance of our community having a long term lake management plan; of looking for ways to inform members of our current need for a dredging project-which of course had not yet been properly funded. Having met with three prominent outside lake consultants and working with one of them to obtain viable pricing information, he was able to put together a proposal to present to our community for the first time. Although the initial proposal, which would require additional membership funding, was not accepted this first go round, Mr. Krokos has been voted in for another two-year term on our board and is beginning what he says will be a lifelong commitment in seeing that we address all of these issues going forward, including the need to dredge and to properly maintain our lakes. He has been instrumental in getting us in the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program/SECCHI Monitoring and the beginning of preparation for an application of the 319 Grant.

We are a community of over 625 home, 1040 lots total who were not even a year and a half ago on the radar of addressing ALL of the current needs of our lakes; of properly caring for them or having a great long term lake management plan. Mr Krokos has allowed us the opportunity to begin to address all of these things moving forward and for that I hope we can properly thank him.

Leonard Dane, Duechler Environmental, Inc., Recipient of Lake Guardian Award:

The recipient of the Lake Guardian Award has been a dedicated member of ILMA for many years.  He has served 2 terms as vice president and 2 more years as president.  He spends countless hours behind the scenes for ILMA – planning and organizing the conference locations, registration, exhibitor areas, hotel logistics, on and on.  He also has coordinated many of the PODS.  He is a person that follows through with his commitments and can be depended on to handle issues without a lot of complications or complaints.  His huge efforts toward the continued success of ILMA is much appreciated by everyone involved.

Brian Valleskey, Manhard Consulting, Ltd., Recipient of Dick Hilton Watershed Award:

This gentleman is a dedicated volunteer and professional advocate for watershed protection. As a water resources professional he has spent timeless hours developing strong partnerships and exceptional plans to protect our water here in Illinois and in his native state of Wisconsin. He plays fair with everyone and has been a mentor and friend of ILMA for many years. He is a members of the Technical Advisory Committee for SMC, Greater Pistakee Lake Watershed Partnership, 9 Lakes Watershed Initiative, Upper Des Plaines River Watershed, Buffalo Creek Watershed, Slocum Lake Protection Committee and VLMP for Slocum Lake. He is a past ILMA Board member where he was the brain child behind what is now the ILMA POD series.  Brian Valleskey is this year’s recipient of the Dick Hilton Watershed.

Both reigning Vice President, Ed Lochmayer and President Rich Bahr were re-elected to another term unanimously.

~p0sted by Admin

Update: 2017 ILMA Annual Conference

As our primary sponsor, we offer a friendly reminder regarding the upcoming Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) annual conference in Crystal Lake, IL.  The conference will be held at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn.  More details regarding the conference can be obtained directly from ILMA’s website.  The ILMA conference committee has made extra effort to incorporate subject material that is relevant to the region and its membership.

Specific to the area are our Keynote speakers.  Our first speaker will be presenting specifically in regards to the Prairie Crossing subdivision and the culture and policies behind a conservation community that are much different in design and concept than traditional subdivision design of then and today.  The second keynote speaker is Joe Keller of the Fox Waterway Agency (FWA).  Joe will be speaking on the some of the issues and concerns of the agency and where they are headed today despite the challenges of the IL State budget.

Concurrent sessions will be ongoing with expert speakers from throughout the area and state.  The Lake County Health Department – Lakes Management Unit will be hosting an excellent workshop regarding the development of lake management plans.  Sure to be heavily attended so register early.

Stay tuned for future updates or follow along on the website linked above.

~p0sted by Admin

Lake Spotlight: Slocum Lake (Lake Co., IL)

Perhaps one of the larger, lesser known lakes in Lake County, Slocum Lake is landlocked by private property holders keeping it somewhat of a secret to non-locals of the Wauconda-Island Lake area.  The 228 acre lake is much less developed than many of the other lakes in upper Illinois.  It is a shallow, glacially formed lake located southwest of the intersection if IL Route 176 and Darrell Road which ultimately drains to the Fox River 1 mile downstream.  The lake is detailed within reports completed by the Lake County Health Department – Lakes Management Unit here:  https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/14196.

The lake itself has a long and arduous history of sedimentation and nutrient loading and the situation has been exacerbated by overpopulation of carp.  Slocum Lake receives limited management effort from the local lake management association, the Slocum Lake Management Association (SLMA).  The group is a loose aggregation of independent landowners, Island Lake residents, and unincorporated homeowner’s associations in Lake County.  While the commitment to maintaining the lake exists, the dedicated few are somewhat challenged by a small number of end users and stakeholders which greatly limits the funding base.  Outside of the occasional weed spraying, the lake is unmanaged.

Slocum Lake has a stunted fishery in many regards.  Occasional reports of a decent crappie haul near the spillway occur otherwise large catfish do exist on the lake.  The remaining sport fishery is sparse at best due to a lack of concentrated structure and extremely high turbidity which makes thing extremely difficult on predator species other than the aforementioned catfish.  Creel surveys bring in the routine 5-6″ black crappie and yellow bass, with bottom fishing bringing in a heavy survey of carp with assorted catfish and drum.  These are observations made primarily from creek survey.  The Lake County Health Department – Lakes Management Unit used to have an fish inventory assessment for Slocum Lake included within one of their older reports; however with a quick search we were unable to recover the information.  Fish inventories are typically performed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the information is shared with other government agencies.

The bottom structure of Slocum Lake is routinely soft, mixed, and unconsolidated organic layer of various watershed constituents, releasing a heavy smell of sulfur when exposed to the air.  I can be traversed in waders with some effort.  The cattail/phragmites weed line extends to a water depth of 15-18″ at the most giving way to thick beds of Eurasion Milfoil upon ice-out conditions.  The weedline (both emergents & submerged vegetation alike) varies around the lake.

The lake has a common inlet located on the east side of the lake commonly named Bangs Lake Drain (drains from Bangs Lake outfall in Wauconda) which drains most of the storm sewers in Wauconda the IL Route 176 corridor between Wauconda and Island Lake.  The water quality from the Drain is poor which is a reflection of the watershed, not the source.  The material deposits in Slocum Lake prior to discharging over outflow weir on the on the south side of the lake.  The discharge waters (referred to as Slocum Lake Drain), confluence with Fiddle Creek approximately 1/2 mile downstream prior to reaching the Fox River in Port Barrington.

Although the fishing is a bit suspect the lake does have good wildlife views.  Routine Great Blue Heron and Sandhill Cranes frequent the wetland edges, and residents also have photographic evidence of resident eagles among the bird population.  Large snapping turtles also frequent the lake.  As mentioned previously the lake is underdeveloped which is a good thing as it has kept the shoreline protected; however much of the vegetation present is either overgrown and/or invasive.  With land rights being what the are, the correction to this will either have to fall under an understanding landowner, or progressive conversation with a landowner willing to accept prescriptive easements over the property.  Neither option is altogether appealing.

Finally, there may be some opportunity to eventually obtain public access to the lake assuming a negotiation can be had between the SLMA, local landowners and either the Wauconda Township and/or Lake County.  Both agencies own property adjacent to the lake, but limited lake access itself.  Should lake access be obtained and shared for the common good of the public, perhaps grant dollars or other funds can be obtained to better address in-lake issues.

~p0sted by Admin

 

Make a New Year’s Resolution- For Your Lake

Time for a New Year’s Resolution.  One you can aspire to follow through on.

No more putting it off.  No more waiting for the phantom grant to appear.  No more pointing fingers and blaming it on everyone else.  No more unresolved arguments with your neighbors or fellow lakeside owners.  It’s time to come together.  For the sake of the lake, for the sake of your property (value), and for the sake of generations to come.  Perhaps it is time to take inventory of what you have and what you may like to have.  What projects are the (lake) group, HOA, other entity pursuing?

Or perhaps we just prefer to drive to Wisconsin where the water is clean and keep passing the buck on to the next generation.  Regardless of the situation, so many people feel powerless the to do anything about the waters of Illinois.  Why is this?

The New Year, a new you, and a new attitude towards lake management.  Not one of us can do it without the other.  We spend a lot of time both actively and passively dealing with dealing with the nuances of daily life, what could the addition of a monthly or bi-monthly discussion or meeting hurt?  As it turns out, many individuals who get involved in local lake management initiatives wish that they had gotten involved earlier.  In several cases this can lead to local lake activists taking on a larger role in professional and semi-professional lakes groups to share their experiences with other and better network with peers and professionals alike.

The science and understanding is so much better than say, 25 years ago.  There are less limiting factors in finding the right materials and resources to make informed decisions.  Social media, the internet, digital archives all serve as valuable resources when properly accessed.  This Blog, for example, serves as one of many resources to educate and at times motivate professionals and non-professionals alike.

Below is a brief list of 3 reasons to get involved:

  1. Understanding.  Simple actually.  Knowing and being informed is much more constructive than individuals that consistently confront others in a groups setting to push their own agendas.  They often quite easy to pick out.  We ask you to not be “that guy”.
  2. It protects property values.  This should resonate most loudly with adjacent land property owners as water quality consistently shows a return correlating with resale value of land.
  3. Legacy.  Preserving something for our children to witness, potentially with their children and grandchildren.  Obviously our grandparents and parents may not have done the best job protecting the environment, but they receive at least a partial pass by lack of knowledge.  We can no longer bear that as an excuse.  The science has been proven out.  It merely requires a follow through.

So there it is.  Hopefully this convinces you to at least explore the concept of involvement in your local lake or watershed group.  While we do not have an extensive list of resources and contact on this Blog YET, we hope to in the future.  For the time being the County or local municipality may have contacts or alternatively, your own HOA may be engaged.  If that fails feel free to contact any of the names within this Blog and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

Cheers to a Happy New Year and everything lakes and water.  See you in 2017!

~p0sted by Admin

Alum Treatment- ILMA POD Available

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) will host a free Point of Discussion (POD) session on Wednesday, January 25th at the Wauconda Moose Lodge in Wauconda.  Start time is scheduled for 6PM.  This may be an interesting discussion topic for anyone diagnosed or concerned with rising or persistent phosphorus issues in their lake.  Please see the attached flyer for more information.

ilma-pod-1-25-17-alum-treatments