Pictured: DeKalb County Watershed Steering Committee Member Donna Prain and Dean Johnson, DeKalb County Watershed Coordinator, hold a large map of the watersheds of DeKalb County.
Twenty CommunityWorks endowment funds of the DeKalb County Community Foundation support initiatives that impact DeKalb County in the areas of early care and education, workforce development, and land use. Started back in 2003 through a gift from the Grand Victoria Foundation, these three grant programs allow donors to partner with the Community Foundation in a proactive approach.
The CommunityWorks Land Use initiative is designed to provide reliable tools and resources that decision makers in DeKalb County can use to make well informed land use decisions to maintain, manage, and protect our county’s resources through a watershed-based approach. This initiative has seen great growth over the years as it continues to pick up steam and make a visible impact in the community.
In 2012, the Community Foundation partnered with the DeKalb County Stormwater Management Planning Committee and the State Environmental Protection Agency to launch an 18-month watershed planning study. Partnering with local residents and community leaders, this project looked to address flooding and storm water management in the watershed containing the East Branch of the Kishwaukee River on the east side of DeKalb County. As a result of this project, this watershed now has a watershed land use plan complete with a prioritized list of projects that the county, municipalities, park districts, and landowners have begun to implement.
One of the prioritized projects identified in the new watershed land use plan involves the Sycamore Park District golf course. After securing a grant in 2015 from the Community Foundation, the Sycamore Park District began an extensive project to control erosion and restore the river banks with native plants along the South Branch of the Kishwaukee river, which runs through the golf course. Completed during the summer of 2016, the project also includes educational interpretative signs along the river, explaining how watersheds work, and the importance of using best practices in maintaining the rivers and streams in our community.
We are excited to support DeKalb County as it continues to be on the leading edge of effective land use planning by engaging a watershed-based approach. We’re committed to partner with residents, community organizations, and land use decision makers to make a noticeable impact in the community that we serve.
There is Strength Through Partnership!