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Watershed Management Reports

The purpose of this report is to:

  • Fulfill the requirements set forth in Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Water Quality Planning and Management regulation at 40 CFR Part 130 for the year 2002.
  • Inform the public about the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program/process.

Grants issued by USEPA under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act include a condition requiring the submittal of a status report every six months. This report is prepared to satisfy that condition and publicize the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's accomplishments in controlling nonpoint source pollution.

Under Section 604b of the Clean Water Act, USEPA provides grants to States to assist in carrying out WQM planning. Grant funds may be used to determine the nature and extent of point and non-point source water pollution and to develop water quality management plans.

The Illinois Nonpoint Source Management Program has been developed to provide an overview of program initiatives that will be utilized to address water resource problems as identified by the Illinois EPA. The purpose of this program is to address these initiatives and the informational requirements of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act, and to provide guidance in the management of nonpoint source water resource problems in Illinois.

This manual presents an approach to watershed-based planning designed to ensure that local stakeholders play a central role in the development of comprehensive, multi-issue watershed plans. The document aims to help the reader create and develop an effective watershed-planning initiative that will produce a locally driven watershed action plan.

The Illinois Urban Manual is intended for use as a technical reference by developers, planners, engineers, government officials and others involved in land use planning, building site development, and natural resource conservation in rural and urban communities and developing areas. The standards and associated materials describe best management practices (BMPs) for controlling nonpoint source pollution impacts that affect ecosystems in existing communities and developing areas. The manual includes an array of BMPs in the following broad categories: soil erosion and sediment control; stormwater management; and special area protection.

In 2003, Illinois EPA convened a process in an effort to redefine how Illinois plans for and protects water quality throughout the State. The Basinwide Management Advisory Group or B-MAG was formed. The group developed a set of consensus-based recommendations to be immediately implemented within the context of a pilot program in Illinois. For more information about B-MAG and their recommendations, visit B-MAG recommended that Illinois EPA begin the pilot process with the development of the Rock River Basin Assessment.

B-MAG and Illinois EPA agree that under a watershed approach to water quality protection, the Illinois EPA Water Quality Management Plan would become a compilation of watershed-specific plans that identify both point and nonpoint source pollution control strategies. These strategies would emerge from the consideration of the condition of the waterbody and the needs of the communities and landowners within the watershed.

The premise behind a watershed approach is that many water quality and ecosystem problems can best be solved at the local watershed level rather than at the individual waterbody or discharger level. Activities in a watershed have a direct influence on the quality of the water resources and their designated use. Understanding what a watershed is and the particular components of a watershed are the first steps in protecting water quality and related resources. Watershed management can help with the use, protection and restoration of water quality and related resources, while allowing for economic growth and development.

Under the pilot project, River Basin Assessments are the precursor to watershed planning. Generically speaking, this state-led effort involves data collection and an evaluation of water quality in the river basin over a period of time. The River Basin Assessment also includes the federally mandated (under Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act) “Use Support Assessment.” This subsection of the River Basin Assessment provides “designated uses” for each waterbody in the state. While one might say that the inclusion of such an element represents a “top down” approach to watershed planning and protection, the B-MAG believes that the local determination of a desired state for a waterbody (which must be sufficiently strict so as to meet the Designated Uses) is important.

It is important to note what the River Basin Assessment is not. It is not a prescriptive set of detailed recommendations for public policy. It is not an implementation document.

As such, it is a “snapshot” view of the condition of the area’s water resource.