SYCAMORE – 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 319 grant. The 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 grant as a partner, according to a news release.
“In DeKalb County, partnership and collaboration are key to informing the creation of a plan that reflects specific issues and opportunities within our communities related to water resources. The Community Foundation takes pride in offering resources to support this crucial endeavor,” said Teri Spartz, foundation community engagement director. “We are grateful to our donors who supply us with the funding needed for this work.”
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 DCCF funded watershed signage for the Central South Branch Watershed.
“When we conduct watershed-based planning in our communities, we work together to create a plan for that community, including education and outreach opportunities,” DeKalb County watershed coordinator Dean Johnson said. “The new signs provide an educational component to bring public awareness to water drainage in neighborhoods and farm fields. Understanding your watershed is one of the first steps to inspiring stakeholders to protect the watershed they live in.”
The overall goal is to improve water quality throughout the county by providing reliable tools and resources to inform decisions and maintain, manage and protect water resources using best management practices.
Do you know what watershed you live in and how you can help? Learn more at dekalbcountywatersheds-il-org.