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.

Advertisements

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

 

EPA’s National Lakes Assessment

In a short article recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), results of a national assessment indicated an alarmingly high ratio of lakes within the United States suffer from too much nutrient pollution.  4 in 10 lakes suffered from to much Nitrogen AND Phosphorus.  Key word is AND.  Atrazine levels are persistent in lakes which will hopefully provide credential for an eventual ban.

The full information on the article can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-survey/nla

Discussion:  While the results may be a bit eye-opening, we don’t think anyone who works within the profession is overly shocked.  Any lake that currently exists or has historically existed within an agricultural watershed is likely to have legacy nutrients bound within the sediment and/or vegetation that can be re-released upon re-suspension or decomposition.  This is specifically likely within northeastern Illinois where agricultural watersheds have slowly transitioned to an urban to semi-urban environment.  While Nitrogen and Phosphorus may slowly be introduced to a new team of urban nutrients, including heavy metals.

It would be even more interesting to see a more robust breakdown of the data by land use, location, watershed size, geography, etc.  The National Aquatic Resource (NAR) Survey data is not available for the latest survey (2007 survey data is available; however) so a thorough review of location based statistics may be forthcoming.

Obviously by now it is common knowledge regarding the hypoxia taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.  Many of the lakes within the Midwest serve as subservient sediment traps for the greater watershed as the streams drain to the Gulf.  The same components that wash into the Mississippi river collectively drain to and from our respective lakes and streams.  With the rich soils found throughout the Midwest and the history of agriculture, the Nitrogen and Phosphorus levels in this area should be anticipated to occur at a higher ratio than nationally.

Additionally another resource for exploring this same concept can be located at: http://americaswatershed.org/reportcard/.  This explores a similar concept focused directly within the Mississippi River Basin level.  The information was also presented at the 2016 Fox River Summit in Burlington, WI.  While there are some signs that are encouraging the overall picture is less than ideal in both instances.  Course correction takes more than professionals and agency staff.  It requires the collective course correction of private landowners and stakeholders alike.  As always education is key and that is what this Blog is here to provide as a resource.

~p0sted by Admin

 

Fox Chain O’ Lakes: Offseason Perspective – Part II

Welcome back for Part II of the Fox Chain O’Lakes, an Offseason Perspective.  Northeastern Illinois’s premiere water resource and also one of the most impacted.  We continue to discuss key points surrounding the dynamic conditions of the lake, management prospectus and key pollutants.

Turning our attention now to the waterway, indifferent of stakeholder and agency politics, how does one begin to tackle the problems of the system?  You have watershed problems tied to enormous annual loading of sediments.  There is an ecologically challenged wildlife and fishery that reflects this.  Property-side landowners that do little to no actual shoreline protection or on-lot treatments that are beneficial to the waterway, and what is likely an overused, potentially abused recreational aspect that is also the largest revenue base for the waterway.  What do you do when the largest base revenue source is also one of the largest individual source impacts?  You begin to see how things become heated and political in a short amount of time.  Hundreds to thousands of different voices with different agendas.

But in all reality are our agendas all that different when you distill them back to their source?  Excluding any cases of individuals (or industry) who seem indifferent to the future condition of the Chain O’Lakes, most everyone should understand that there needs to be a realistic, long-term management plan in place to address these issues and placate all users and stakeholders.  The disagreement almost always seems to stem from how to implement such a plan and more specifically in what order to implement the actions necessary to complete the individual steps.

As mentioned in Part I, current management of the Chain O’Lakes consists of treatment techniques focused on the result, not the actual cause which is an expensive way to tread water.  Documented elsewhere, the overall largest load is delivered from the Fox River north of the border, however the largest average annual pulse of sediment is being delivered from in-state.  This would also include a much larger per acre volume of water based on the proximity of impervious surfaces to the Chain O’Lakes.

How do you keep sediment from making its way into the waterway?  Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “1 ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and it could not be more true in the land use paradigm.  While the FWA has the charge of maintaining the waterway, it only has control of the end point of the sediment and currently lacks the mechanism to address watershed based control.  If only there was a way?  Ah but there is.  We refer to these things as partnerships.

Somewhere along the line the concept of partnering was never realized or never considered, but ultimately there are no functional partnerships that are resulting in worthwhile land management objectives.  Perhaps they once did exist, but never materialized.  Hindsight being what it is the only logical, somewhat economically conscious method of reaching equilibrium with the landscape will be through better watershed practices and structured partnerships.  What kind of partnerships?  Where is the economical gain?  Who controls land management use?

Part III of the offseason perspective coming soon.

~posted by LL&S