A Tool for Local Decision Makers
A grant the Defenders obtained in 2000 from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation 2000 Program funded the original writing of the Sustainable Development Guide for Kishwaukee Watershed Municipalities. During that year, we presented the guide in municipalities primarily in McHenry, Boone, Dekalb, Ogle, and Kane Counties. We teamed with the Kishwaukee River Ecosystem Partnership (KREP) to help communities understand and utilize this tool.
The Guide is organized into five easy-to-follow chapters. The first two chapters explain the physical science behind the water cycle, what effects human modification has on the water cycle, and the importance of wetlands. Chapters Three and Four introduce the idea of best management practices (BMPs), such as buffering streams, using vegetated swales, and reducing erosion during construction in order to protect existing resources in the community. The last chapter provides an extensive list of examples, organizations and agencies, and grants that can be pursued in order to make sustainable development a feasible plan.
Presentations were made at village board meetings throughout the watershed to teach decision makers how to utilize this information. Responses were encouraging: Municipalities and citizens are giving us positive feedback. Developers are contacting us to discuss ideas before they design plans – a developer who saw one of our presentations wanted to discuss his preliminary development plans for a nearby area to get feedback on environmental concerns. This allowed us to point out the crucial environmental issues in hopes that our suggestions would be incorporated into his design.
The Sustainable Development Guide for Kishwaukee Watershed Municipalities has truly become a great tool to help design and promote sustainable development as a method to manage growth. We thank all of those who have helped with this project.
If you would like to find more information about sustainable development or the Sustainable Development Guide for Kishwaukee Watershed Municipalities project, visit KREP’s website.