Watershed Planning in DeKalb County
The goal of the CommunityWorks Land Use initiative is to provide reliable tools and resources that DeKalb County decision makers use to inform land use decisions and maintain, manage, and protect water resources through a watershed approach. Working with stakeholders, local community resources, and additional consultants, the watershed areas identified to address include portions of DeKalb and Kane County. The approach addresses flooding and stormwater management issues. The Community Foundation's primary role is to coordinate outreach opportunities within the community and provide grants when applicable for implementation plans.
For questions or additional information, please contact Community Engagement Director Teri Spartz at 815-748-5383 or email@example.com.
Watershed-based planning continues for DeKalb County with the Central South Branch of the Kishwaukee River, a 67,000-acre watershed that includes Genoa, Kingston, Kirkland, and surrounding communities. The DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District recently received an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) 319 grant. This grant supports creating a watershed-based plan to help improve water quality in that area of the Kishwaukee River. A requirement to receive the IEPA grant was to secure matching dollars from a local partnering organization. The DeKalb County Community Foundation provided a $50,000 matching grant as a partner.
A watershed is any area of land in which water drains into a standard body of water, such as a stream, river, or lake. Watershed planning is crucial for various environmental, social, and economic reasons. Some issues addressed by having a watershed-based plan are water quality protection, flood mitigation, ecosystem conservation, sustainable agriculture, recreation and tourism, urban planning, and long-term planning.
In addition to the matching grant, the Community Foundation funded watershed signage for the Central South Branch Watershed.
June 2017 - The third DeKalb County Watershed Bus Tour took place on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Funded by the DeKalb County Community Foundation, the watershed tour was made possible through the joining efforts of the DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, Northern Illinois University Depart of Geography, and the DeKalb County Watershed Steering Committee.
Tour stops included the headwaters of the South Branch of the Kishwaukee River, wetland, prairie, conservation and farmland best management practices, the Kishwaukee River Water Reclamation District wastewater treatment facility in DeKalb, the CHS Elburn plant in Sycamore, and examples of urban stormwater management projects.
Guiding the tour was Mike Konen, NIU Department of Geography and Dean Johnson DeKalb County Watershed Coordinator, and Resource Conservationist with the DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District.
August 2016 - The Sycamore Park District watershed improvement project has been completed. Three new interpretative signs have been installed (tees 10, 13, 15) explaining the importance of watershed management and the positive effects. Several areas along the East Branch of the South Branch of the Kishwaukee River have been redeveloped to restore native plant species to the banks which will improve water quality and control erosion. After years of discussion, data collecting, and mapping, it's exciting to see the first watershed improvement project completed.
October 2015 - The beginning stages of the Sycamore Park District watershed improvement project. This project focused on two river/riparian areas along the East Branch of the South Branch of the Kishwaukee River that runs through the Sycamore Golf Course. Immediate results improved water quality, erosion control, and restored native species. Education is another piece of this project including interpretative signs and other outreach in areas along the watershed.