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

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