ILMA – Call for Presenters

ILMA is gearing up for the 2019 Annual Conference.  The call for presenters is below:

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) is hosting its 34th Annual Conference at the Holiday Inn Crystal Lake Conference Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois from March 14 through March 16, 2019. We are looking to fill out our conference sessions with talks and presentations from professionals, teachers, students, or others with detailed knowledge on issues associated with research and management on lakes, waterways, watersheds, and fisheries. Download PDF

We are looking for presentations to be approximately 20- 25 minutes. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Managing Stormwater in Municipal Areas
  • How Stormwater Impacts Water Quality in Lakes and Streams
  • Planning Lake and Stream Restoration Projects
  • Dam and Levee Safety, Management, and Permitting
  • Fishery Research
  • How Land Use in Watersheds Affect Fish Populations
  • Granting Implementation
  • Principles of Hydrology
  • Nutrient Cycling
  • Shoreline Protection and Enhancement
  • Invasive Species Studies and Management

In addition to presentations, a special poster session will be held during the conference. If interested in providing either a poster or being a presenter, please submit abstracts by December 31, 2018.

For questions about presentations or posters, contact Dick Hilton at ilma@ilma-lakes.org

Advertisements

Common Carp Management Options

The following excerpt is a summary document provided by Deuchler Environmental (DEI) fish biologist Leonard Dane, originally hosted by the Lake County Health Department (LCHD), co-sponsored by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) on April 13th, 2018.  The original presentation slides are provided in the Media area of the Blog.  All materials are the rights of DEI and should not be reproduced without permission.

Lakes Forum:  Carp Removal and Fish Habitat Summary

Common Carp are an exotic, nuisance species that is present in many of Illinois Lakes. The most productive and economical way for the removal of Common Carp is by electrofishing.  This method is species selective and can cover the entire area of the lake. It is best to do the removal during the spawning season or during a lake draw down when the fish are congregated in the shallows. Removal of Common Carp using electrofishing will be required over multiple years. In a removal project that has been conducted since 2015, there has been over 5400 pounds of Common Carp removed over three years.  Each year there has been a decrease in the catch per unit effort which indicates a decrease in Common Carp in the lake. Once the Common Carp abundance is at a manageable level, you should develop habitat for the desirable fish species in your lake.

This leads us into the importance and types of fish habitat. Fish habitat is the waters and substrate necessary for fish spawning, feeding, and growth. This includes all physical and chemical factors necessary for all life stages.  Fish habitat is required to provide an area of protection for small fish, an area for predator to hide to ambush prey, and area for food organisms to colonize and grow. Fish habitat is being eliminated by development within the watershed, increased run-off, management of aquatic plants, removing of woody habitat, shoreline development, and sedimentation.

There are various types of natural fish habitat. These include undercut banks, rootwads, boulders, course woody habitat (logs and trees), aquatic plants, deep water areas, overhanging vegetation, as well as shallow areas. However, often times there is a need to increase the amount of habitat available for the fish. The common artificial fish habitat include fish cribs, Christmas trees, fallen trees, and plastic structures.  Fish cribs can be made of various materials and can last over 20 years. They are generally 5-6 feet tall and should be placed in 10-15 feet of water.  Christmas trees are easily collected during the months of December and January. They can be weighted on the bottom by placing them in a bucket and adding concrete. These too should be placed in 10 -15 feet of water.   Tree falls and fish sticks are full size trees put in the littoral zone and should be placed in areas where they won’t be a navigational hazard.  There are many configurations for the use of plastic for fish habitat. For more information on the artificial fish habitat structures please contact me. In general, all the habitat should be placed in deep enough water to be fully submerged at all times.  Also, if it is placed in an area where boating will occur, be sure it is deep enough to not become a navigational hazard. It is also important to have the structures weighted and/or secured so they remain in place over the life of the structure.

 

ILMA 2018 Conference Recap

For those who could not attend the 2018 Annual ILMA Conference, it was held in Bloomington just two weeks ago at the Best Western Park Regency, which is a nice site on the edge of town.  The conference once again included an excellent and diverse grouping of presentation topics which are now available on ILMA’s website, along with previous year’s presentations.

Your 2018 Board of Directors openings were filled, and award winners were recognized, but it is important that we take the extra time to showcase the individuals who received the awards.  These awards recognize individuals who put in extra time, make an effort to go out of their comfort zone, take on something that they don’t always understand at first, or put in hours well beyond their normal working schedule.  When these people or groups are recognized it means something great is happening with out lakes, streams and watersheds.  Attached below is not only the award winners, but the introduction provided by there presenters and other additional information.  This helps provide the context and reasoning behind the nomination and what makes theses awards special.

Lake Guardian: BRYAN CROSS

Each year the Illinois Lake Guardian Award is presented in recognition of exceptional effort to enhance and preserve the quality of Illinois lakes

The person receiving the 2018 award has been associated with ILMA and Illinois lakes for several years.

As a consultant, ILMA Director and Officer and professional in the field of Lake Management this person’s management skills has engineered near perfect solutions to issues confronting lake managers, lake users and lake communities throughout the State of Illinois.

The enthusiasm that is demonstrated by this person is contagious.  Dedication to detail is a trademark approach that results in sensible solutions to both water quality and soil erosion issues in lakes and stream corridors.

In addition, I have had the personal privilege of working with him and observing both his planning and organizational  leadership skills.

It is my extreme pleasure and honor to present to you, Mr. Bryan Cross, ILMA’s  2018 Illinois Lake Guardian.

Loftus Award:  Steve Burgoon of Tower Lake’s

Last Thursday, March 22, at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Illinois Lakes Management Association(ILMA) Steve Burgoon received the Frank Loftus Conservation Award for Lake Volunteer Stewardship Efforts. This award was established in 2002 by the Association in posthumous honor of Frank who was a tireless, lifelong conservation volunteer. One deserving person in Illinois receives this award each year.

Steve Burgoon was nominated and unanimously approved by ILMA’s board for his impressive lake protection resume. Steve, having twice served extensive terms on both the Tower Lakes Improvement Association (TLIA) Lake Committee and its’ governing Board, was instrumental in two major projects to protect and repair Tower Lakes: a shoreline effort, many years ago and TLIA’s more recent and ongoing Silt Removal project.

Steve has also dedicated untold hours to organizing and guiding efforts to connect our local lake communities. Working with representatives from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT) he was key to establishing local working groups: The Tower Lakes Drain Partnership (TLDP) which became the 4 Lakes group and now is part of the CMAP 9 Lakes Watershed Plan. These connections and planning were key to the grants TLIA has received for the Dredging and Raingarden projects.

Steve with his wife Chris have raised five beautiful and accomplished children. Despite being a national sales manager for a housewares company, calling for more than a little travel, he had served as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader for 13 years, soccer coach … you get the idea! He participates in almost all community related volunteer activity like the Spring and Fall Clean-ups of TLIA’s 46 acres of parks and shoreline. He has organized and waded-in our manual invasive lake weed control efforts and has served on our VLMP group since its’ inception.

Our Community and our State is lucky to have Steve’s leadership and spirit volunteerism.

Submitted by Rich Bahr – Past president of ILMA

Dick Hilton Watershed Stewardship Award: Beth Baranski

I am pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Dick Hilton Watershed Stewardship Award is Beth Buranski. Beth is an extremely ambitious and deserving recipient of this award and I am glad she is present to receive it. Let me tell you a few things about Beth:

Beth has a degree in architecture and works part-time as a bookkeeper and doing special projects for her husband’s architectural firm, but her full-time “job” is as a volunteer Project Coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Jo Daviess County. According to Beth, the title Project Coordinator was made up so she could fill in blanks on grant applications! Beth has been successful in securing multiple grants and her time is used as in-kind match to leverage the grant funding.

The League of Women Voters of Jo Daviess County has been spearheading water resource management efforts in the far northwest corner of the state since 2012. As Project Coordinator, Beth worked with many partners to organize and facilitate a two-year county-wide planning process.  The end result is a broad base of shared understanding about water resource issues and the actions needed to protect local water quality above and below ground.

Beth has organized and is in the process of facilitating watershed-based planning for the Lower Galena River watershed with Section 319 IEPA funding support. The Lower Galena River watershed is just the first subwatershed-based planning process in the county. They propose to initiate a new subwatershed-based planning process approximately every two years until the entire county is covered. Beth describes this effort as a forever project –  as in water resource management doesn’t have a beginning and an end!

In an ongoing effort, The League of Women Voters of Jo Daviess County has been working hard to develop trusting relationships with local leaders in the agricultural community. The USFWS has a Fishers & Farmers Program that promotes farmer-led groups working on issues that improve water quality. Beth engaged Galena-area farmers to become the “Soil & Water Health Coalition.” With a grant from USFWS and a donation from a local fertilizer plant, the Coalition is running a series of Soil & Health educational events. The most recent event was held on Feb 21st and was free to area farmers.

Most recently and due primarily to Beth’s efforts, the League of Women Voters of Jo Daviess County was awarded $10,000 in prize money in a USEPA sponsored “Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge”. The Challenge is a technology-accelerating water quality contest to demonstrate how nutrient sensors can be used by states and local communities to help manage nutrient pollution. Working with scientists from the Illinois State Geological and Water Surveys, a project was designed for deploying two low-cost sensors, one each at the top and bottom of the Lower Galena River subwatershed to gather continuous data on nitrate levels. The real-time continuous data will be available to local farmers to assist them in their day-to-day decision-making. Sensors are planned to be installed this month. The first 3-months of real-time online data will be submitted to US EPA for Stage II of the Challenge.  Beth hopes to secure an additional award of up to $100,000.

Beth’s life and work is framed by the desire to support shared learning, document consensus, and take action to achieve science-based stewardship of our water resources and watersheds.

At this time, I’d like to introduce Beth Buranski and to present her with the Dick Hilton Watershed award.


Lastly we will provide just a quick summary regarding our scholarships.  Keith Gray of Integrated Lakes Management (ILM) deserves a shout as their company continues to strongly support this initiative:

ILMA – $1000 Elizabeth Berg
Kolsto IEPA – $1000 Anthony Breitenbach
Bob Esser Not awarded due to no volunteerism
ILM – $500 Gare Ambrsoe-Igho
ILM – $500 Jared Bilak

ILMA will be giving out two scholarships this year.  Both are $1000 funded by the ILMA membership and the IEPA. These are open to full time undergraduate or graduate students who have a college or university cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on an undergraduate 4.0 scale and 3.0 on a graduate 4.0 scale, enrolled in a natural resource discipline related to lake and/or watershed management. Eligible applicants include Illinois residents enrolled in accredited colleges and universities within Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin and/or students enrolled in an accredited Illinois college or university.

ILMA does have another scholarship that will not be presented this year due to the lack of volunteerism of the applications received. This scholarship is the $500 Robert Esser Student Achievement Scholarship.  This scholarship is available to an Illinois resident attending an Illinois accredited college or university. A full time junior or senior undergraduate student or graduate student is preferred. Attendance at the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Lake Management Association (ILMA) is strongly encouraged. Student must be enrolled in a lake-related curriculum with clearly articulated personal goals and objectives geared toward Illinois lakes. Emphasis will be placed on volunteer experiences.

Integrated Lakes Management wanted to enhance the scholarships again this year by donating an additional $1000.  ILM has been very generous to ILMA, but doesn’t know if this donation will continue from year to year as such they don’t want to commit to a long term contribution.  After reviewing the applicants, it was decided to offer a two $500 scholarship funded by ILM.

The Scholarship committees approached the ILMA Board with the idea to name the IEPA funded scholarship in honor of Steve Kolstol, a long-time supporter of ILMA and the as you have heard a person with a great passion for the environment.  The Steve Kolstol IEPA scholarship goes to Anthony Breitenbach. Anthony is a fulltime doctorate student attending Illinois State University.  His goals include designing a free outdoor education program for children centered on teaching environmental science and biology. His project is looking to evaluate how sex determination in the red-eared slider turtle, a component of lake and watershed ecosystems in Illinois, will be affected by thermal variability arising from climate change.

The second ILMA scholarship goes to Elizabeth Berg. Elizabeth is a first-year masters student at Loyola where she is seeking her master’s in biology.  Her goals include pursuing her PhD and continuing to conduct research in academia and/or governmental and non-profit work. Her current research focuses on assessing factors that influence the transport dynamics of microplastic in streams. Microplastics (fragments, fibers, or particles of plastic) are aquatic pollutants of increasing concern throughout the world. They absorb high levels of harmful chemicals, are often ingested by small organisms, travel long distances through rivers and streams, and are extremely difficult to remove.

The first ILM $500 scholarship goes to Jared Bilak.  Jared is a PhD candidate attending Southern Illinois University – Carbondale where he is seeking his degree in Zoology.  The overall objective of his research project is to understand the seasonal movement of the mudpuppy and summer habitat requirements. His project is in collaboration with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

The second ILM $500 scholarship goes to Gare Ambrose-Igho.  Gare is a first-year graduate student at Illinois State University where she is seeking a degree in Hydrogeology. Her project is using remote sensing to explore the timing and spatial patterns of algal blooms and compare ground collected data from various sites within two reservoirs.


Next year’s conference will be back up north in Crystal Lake at the Holiday Inn (2017 Conference location).  We look forward to seeing everyone there.

~p0sted by Admin

Lake County Health Department (LCHD) to Host Lakes Forum

The Lake County Health Department Lakes Management Unit (LCHD-LMU) is hosting a 2-hour lakes forum at the Lake County Permit Center, 500 W. Winchester Road in Libertyville from 1-3pm on April 13th.  April 13th Lake Forum Flyer.  The forum will feature three speakers talking about topics such as fish structures, invasive species, and resident/HOA projects.  The forum is being sponsored in part by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA).  While the event is free it is requested that you RSVP Lake County as seating is limited.

Big Weeks in Water Resources Upon Us

March is a big month for water resources related conferences in Illinois.  Starting next week with the Illinois Floodplain Managers Annual Conference – IAFSM, highlighted next week by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) Annual Conference, and the Fox River Summit.  These conferences will provide some great overlapping content as well as subject specific information unique to each conference.

The Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers (IAFSM) Annual Conference will be hosted once again in Tinley Park, IL (http://www.illinoisfloods.org/18_conference.html).  This conference will feature several presentations related to flooding issues such as protection, regulation, prevention, and also provides aspiring professionals the opportunity to take the nationally recognized Floodplain Manager’s Certification Exam.  Additional presentations may also revolve around topical content such as general stormwater and regulation, green infrastructure projects, and restoration.  The conference runs March 14-15th at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

The Fox River Summit will be held in Burlington, WI on March 23rd (https://www.southeastfoxriver.org/river-breakdown).  The summit is an excellent one-day endeavor for all things related to the Fox River starting in southern Wisconsin down through northern Illinois prior to its confluence with the Illinois River.  The program always includes a variety of speakers from both states with the common theme of collaboration for the betterment of the entire watershed.

The highlight of course is the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) annual conference held this year in Bloomington (https://ilma-lakes.org/conference).  The conference runs from the 22nd-24th with the workshop encompassing the final day of the conference.  The conference will once again feature the hospitality suite and a myriad of excellent sessions devoted to lakes water quality, biology, protection, and restoration.  The conference is also one of Illinois’s premiere watershed conferences as well.  As the IllinoisLakes Blog is directly sponsored by ILMA, the following information was sent out to membership today by Membership Secretary Karen Clementi as current announcements:

As we get closer to the upcoming conference on March 22-24, we have the following fun announcements to share:

  • We are still soliciting raffle items for our fantastically popular raffle.  Field books, homemade items, adult beverages, white elephant gifts from Christmas, we take it all.  Please contact Leonard Dane at ldane@deuchler.com to donate any goodies.
  • Got a photo for our photo contest?  Win $50 and the MAJOR AWARD of next year’s conference program cover.
  • We will be having trivia and hospitality at the hotel for Thursday night’s entertainment.  Those staying both on and off-site are definitely encouraged to attend.
  • Spaces are still available in the Saturday workshop on Midwestern Waterfowl and Shorebirds by the Audubon Society of Illinois. With both a class portion and field trip, it is sure to be both educational and enjoyable.

Karen Clementi

ILMA Membership Secretary

Please enjoy a month of valuable water resources conferences!

~p0sted by Admin

Identifying Worthwhile Stewardship Ventures

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to identify worthwhile stewardship ventures and opportunities is to evaluate the concept of stewardship at its roots.  The idea of stewardship stems from an ethic that centers around the responsible planning and management of resources, in this case environmental resources.  Lakes of course are just one component of our natural environment but cannot be isolated in their care.  Looking more specifically at environmental stewardship, Wikipedia defines it with terms such as conservation and sustainability.  Further referencing the great Aldo Leopold and the land ethic concept.  For those of you who have never read the Sand County Almanac, what I consider and environmentalists staple, I highly recommend it.  If it does not stir some emotion of an intertwined environmental bioverse nothing will.

Back to the to point behind this blog post.  We all have places to go, people to see, politics to complain about.  Of all the ventures we may choose to support on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, how well do we connect with our water resources or environmental stewardship of lake, streams and watersheds?  It’s a difficult question to answer for some.  As a consultant I attend a number or watershed and lake meetings, sit on numerous boards, committees or the like.  You begin to see a lot of the same faces.  The ones you see time and again work well with each other, smile and greet each other, and have bought into the process of these grass roots programs a long time ago, nor

The new faces (or the one you may not recognize) are often their to complain about something not being done, are in unfamiliar territory, or are ignorant to any sort of working processes.  If the ‘workgroup’ is lucky, with the right words there may be a convert inside this individual.

So while stewardship efforts may have a skeletal framework with agency framing, the backbone and muscle of the groups reside in the individuals who comprise them.  These grass roots effort groups provide a number of stewardship efforts and opportunities for anyone who is willing to sit down and listen.  So since you are reading this blog, we assume you are interested in one of a few things:

  1. Your local lake.  Either its long term care or its immediate needs.  You lack a local lake group or are unsure of the capability of your local group to function properly.
  2. Your local water body.  This may take the form or a common water that you periodically frequent or maybe the creek your kids play in nearby.  You have seen something that bothers your and want to know where to go with questions.
  3. HOA commitments.  HOA boards are often ill prepared for dealing with open space issues and need some sort of homing beacon.
  4. Park districts, NFP patrons, or other open space agencies.  Open to new ideas, networking ideas.

At this point we do know from independent surveys that people do believe that the internet is the is the best resource for information which is not to say people are misinformed or under informed, but let’s just say you get back what you put into it.  This is likely to be a future blog piece. 

In northeastern Illinois where stewardship groups are somewhat dense, the structure consists of one or more of the following which can often overlap with the geographic interests:

  1. Watershed Groups:  If you need to find the watershed that your local waterbody of interest resides in, the easiest resource is the EPA Surf your watershed webpage.  It can be down for maintenance routinely, so check back if you cannot find it.  Additionally we are trying to create a repository here as well.  If you do not know what a watershed is, search this blog and there are descriptive blog posts as well.  The internet is also a somewhat viable source.  Just as always with the internet.  All information should be check against more than one source.
  2. Lake or waterbody group: Some lakes, creeks, and streams have their own advocacy groups.  If you are having trouble finding one specifically.  Please contact ILMA and we’ll do our best to help you out.  Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start.  For example in Lake Zurich, IL, there is the local lake group which is responsible for the management of the lake itself.  The local sustainability group is known as the Ancient Oaks Foundation.
  3. Regional advocacy focus groups.  Examples of these could be the Conservation Foundation, Openlands, Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT), Chicago Wilderness are only a few examples.  Each of these groups may represent a slightly different geographic range or focus, but each have worthwhile efforts.

The best fit may be more than one group depending on your interest level.  Some have found it good to hear a different voice from time to time.  Visiting a alternative group or neighboring group can also be enlightening.  Prior to forming the 9 Lakes Watershed Group, several of the lakes belonged to the 4 Lakes Initiative. Some of the best interaction the group felt was the interaction with the other lake groups and the different approaches they each took to solve intermediate lake problems.

Keep the following things in mind.  Lake groups tend to focus on in-lake problems.  Watershed groups look from the top down to solve water quality problems.  Lake groups can sometimes become lake-centric meaning they don’t realize that the problems they are treating can stem from the watershed.  Throwing money at a in-lake result that begins at the watershed level can be like throwing away money.

Regional groups while looking at a more watershed level approach also tend to integrate policy issues which is important when looking at institutional change that can have a ripple down effect.  These policy practices can provide changes which when integrated with land use policy.  Once in place these policies can provide land development and local government officials the needed tools to enact change at a watershed scale.  Watershed level changes impact the quality of our surface waters.  Therefore, you can see how these levels interact.

There is a lot of knowledge to be gained by interacting at any and all levels.  Of course the interaction also requires time.  Above all is the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) which works to network our membership with all these groups at our annual conference, POD sessions, and web pages (this blog, our facebook page, and our general internet page).

You may find a lot of familiar faces operating at several different levels.  This is not by accident, but often by design.  This includes ILMA and its partner groups.  We encourage interaction at as many of these levels as possible, including attending available conferences or workshops these groups may have to offer.  These may also offer exposure to vendors and additional expertise.

Look no further than the upcoming ILMA Annual Conference (March 22-24), the Fox River Summit in Burlington, WI (March 23rd) for some of these opportunities.

~p0sted by Admin

Lake County Hosted Lake Management Workshop

The Lake County Health Department, Lakes Management Unit (LMU) will be hosting a workshop on developing and writing your own lake management plan.  Lake Management Planning Workshop Feb 24 2018.  These are useful documents to establish lake milestones and gauge the progress of your lake  and association performance over time.  Coupled with applicable watershed plans they can serve as valuable road maps to improving the water quality and internal working of your lake.  The workshop is assisted in its presentation with staff member Holly Hudson of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and co-sponsored by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA).  Tune in here for any changes!

~p0sted by Admin

Welcome to 2018!

As we come into the New Year it never hurts to get an update on this year’s Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) annual conference.  Some additional details can be found here:

https://ilma-lakes.org/conference

The conference runs from March 22-24 and our Keynote Speaker has been secured from the Alliance for the Great Lakes.  We have also secured several other speakers to engage our audience on a number of topics including fish, birding, funding strategies, dredging, invasive species, cultivating homeowner’s associations, etc.

The location will be Bloomington, as this year represents our downstate cycle.  More details to come.

~p0sted by Admin

The Paradigm of a Natural Environment

Four weeks ago the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) hosted a POD in Palatine focused on common reed, aka Phragmites Australis, one of the most successful invasives to impact our lakes, streams, and wetlands in recent memory.  One of the points commonly made by the presenter is how we have basically created the perfect environment for this species to proliferate.*  This serves a a good lead into discussing how we have molded the urban environment to our will.  The result appears to be a more desirable and livable environment full of tolerable nuisances to mankind while creating a mixed bag of consequential side effects to the natural ecology of the landscape and its native inhabitants.

*Note: This presentation is now available in the Media Center of this Blog.

We often hear our folks talk about the good old days.  Many of us can probably remember our grandparents telling us about the days before that.  Those who have been fortunate can probably remember a few walks down memory lane with great grandparents.  Someday you will tell your children and perhaps grandchildren the same cyclic diatribe, and on and on.  To people “the good ole days” are something very particular.  Cheap gas, less restriction…less distraction perhaps.  Less running around and perhaps a less hurried world.

What if our waters could remember “the good ole days”?  Our waters (lakes, streams, creeks, tributaries, etc) are a reflection of our watershed landscapes.  What if they could realize a time prior to man’s intervention, or a time when we can properly work with nature instead of always against it.  We’ve come a long way in understanding the world and the environment we live in, yet the trek back towards environmental solvency is long and difficult.  The science is getting better but the willpower to enable science to do what is necessary is the harder part of the math.

Along this pathway we also run into an issue of public perception.  Everyone has a built-in perception of what human domain looks like.  This includes our neighborhoods, villages, shopping centers, and transportation corridors.  What’s generally clear is that it is very rarely in step with the natural environment.  We have devastated our shorelines with seawall and piers to access our lakes.  We have bent and channelized our streams and creeks to recover property while filling the overbank floodplains.  Our wetlands are primarily gone.  No first generation forests exist anymore.  Second generation forests are a rarity.  The original inhabitants are…somewhere else.

Our ancestors talk about the clean waters and big fish but they were the first to encroach upon nature and the bill has come due generations later.  It will continue to do so for generations to come if we don’t start to right the ship in a cohesive manner.  Our children inherit our misgivings while we have gone about our daily lives expecting agencies such as EPA, DNR, USACE, and our local governing stormwater agencies and municipalities to do the heavy lifting for us.  The policies needed are still only scratching the surface.

Yet the environment is resilient.  Regardless of the engineering effort put into action to reverse rivers, dry out wetlands, tile the water table, and bridge our creeks.  We can continue to fight it or embrace it.  Our understanding of the green technology that can be used to reduce our impervious impact on the landscape has greatly increased, but it is not standard practice and seemingly impractical to apply under many normal development ordinances and review processes which have been established to encourage legacy practices.

https://i1.wp.com/chesapeakestormwater.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/swale_checkdam.jpg

Non-sewered parking lot runoff flows over grass providing a means for urban sediments to deposit over the landscape instead of into the sewer.

If we can agree that the state of our water resources are a reflection of the watershed that drains to them, then we should be able to draw the conclusion that we need to reconsider how we treat the land on which we dwell and that there are consequences from our current land use practices.  Treating runoff like an unwanted resource in one location only to expect it to be in pristine condition when it reaches its final destination is unrealistic.  In an unaltered environment the above scenario may have been possible; however at one time the only impervious surfaces on the earth were exposed stone, water, and ice.

Standard engineering practice is to efficiently route water away through a conduit, getting it away from us as quickly as possible to the nearest creek, lake or pond.  The method in which the water reaches its destination is by no means anything like it originally functioned, heated from the asphalt and escorted like a shotgun blast several times faster.  Our stormwater ponds are a poor reflection of anything natural, often mowed turn grass down to the waters edge.  An environment we created to incubate misquitos which we will complain about incessantly even though we cannot live with the “weedy look” which helps harbor the natural predators needed to curb the nuisance species.  We’ve harbored the perfect environment for many of these invasive species by bringing them to locations without predation that we cannot rid ourselves of them.

So where does this leave us?  Institutional inability to implement science into policy it would seem, but unlike global warming, there is little debate to the science.  After all everything is driven by erosion, or the process of the movement of sediment from one place to another.  This process is 100% a natural condition.  The only difference is the acceleration of the impact due to human intervention.

It’s probably a bit atypical for the common citizen to ask “Why must roads be impervious?”  Yet it may not be atypical for the common citizen lake property owner to ask the question “Why is there so much algae in the lake?”  at first the two seem worlds apart but in really they interconnected through the dynamics of the watershed.  After all the road system helps connect the great conduits of our stormwater delivery system, of which the final chapter is written in out lakes and streams.

boy_scout_drain_stencil_16th_wash__9_24_11

The sign does not lie.  The fish await our runoff.

So how does this story end?  Out of sight out of mind will not cut it, but until stormwater regulations make water quality a focus, improvements to water quality will remain a challenge.  How do our waters become “impaired”?  How did we get here?  What’s being done about it?  Discussion of impairments can be found on an earlier blog post from August 2016 and subsequent presentation.

There will be a dedicated session in this year’s Annual ILMA Conference regarding the impact of storwmater and runoff on our lakes.  Cleaning up our storwmater, especially in our urban districts is essential to helping solve impairment issues.  Much of the technology and scientific principles are in place to make for a more naturalized urban environment.  It all comes down to people’s willingness to make the changes in their everyday lives.  These changes come down to cosmetic changes, not physical changes.  Using natural overland drainage patterns instead of storm sewer.  Making parking lots porous instead of solid impervious concrete or asphalt.  Minimizing thermal pollution by harvesting rainwater instead of sending it to small, shallow stormwater facilities or directly to our creeks.

The paradigm of a natural environment does not insinuate and alteration on modern living.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  Implementing green technology, while retro in concept has been forgotten because as consumers we have been shown to crave man made revisions to the landscape.  Our carbon footprint cumulatively within the watershed amounts to a large amount of large pulse of unwanted constituents that simply were not present 200+ years ago.

“Nature did it right” is an easy way to look at things.  Our lakes, streams, and surrounding watersheds form from thousands of years of pre-human intervention and that is the course correction we need in order to turn back the clock to the good ole days for our lakes and streams.

Call for Presenters

Illinois Lakes Management Association
2018 Conference
Parke Regency Hotel & Conference Center
Bloomington, IL
March 22-24, 2018
The Illinois Lakes Management Association is hosting its 33rd annual conference in 2018 in Bloomington, Illinois from March 22nd to March 23th (with workshops held on the 24th). We are looking to fill out our conference sessions with talks and presentations from professionals, teachers, students, or others with detailed knowledge on issues associated with lake, waterway, and watershed management.  Presentations should be approximately 20 minutes with time for questions following. Our conference sessions include the following topics:

– Managing Stormwater in Municipal Areas
– How Stormwater Impacts Water Quality in Lakes and Streams
– Planning Lake and Stream Restoration Projects
– Dam and Levee Safety, Management, and Permitting
– Fishery Production in Hyper-eutrophic Lakes
– How Land Use in Watersheds Affect Fish Populations
– Granting Implementation, Managing Projects from Inception to Close-out
– Principles of Hydrology
– Nutrient Cycling in Lakes
– Managing Lake Shorelines
– Promoting Sustainable Development
– Invasive Species Management

In addition to presentations, a poster session will be held on Thursday. If you are interested in either providing a poster or being a presenter, please submit abstracts by December 15 th , 2017. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words and be submitted [online] at http://www.ilma-lakes.org/call-for-presenters or [emailed] to Bryan Cross at bcross@prairieengineers.com. Audio and video will be provided by ILMA. Notification of abstract acceptance will be provided by ILMA no later than December 31 st .