Watershed meetings encourage involvement

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—The Conservation Foundation and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning met with area planners and interested members of the public at Blackberry Township on Tuesday for an informational meeting as part of a watershed planning effort for better water quality in Blackberry Creek.

The meetings are aimed at engaging stakeholders—anyone living in the area of the watershed—to actively engage in efforts to coordinate funding, grant management and education.

Blackberry Creek is a concern after a 2010 environmental study found the creek to be “impaired due to the presence of a bacteria called fecal coliform.” This type of bacteria causes illness in both people and animals. Blackberry Creek is a major tributary for the Fox River surrounded by highly developed areas that impact its integrity.

A watershed is any area of land from which precipitation—in the form of rain or snow—drains into a nearby waterway such as a river, lake or stream and also feeds into the groundwater. How that land is used, whether over-developed or allowed to erode, affects the overall water quality in the area. Water runoff from the landscape flows through yards, roads picking up pollutants. Anything that is picked up— fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, motor oil, road salt, toxic household chemicals and medications that were flushed—all end up in the bodies of water used for swimming, fishing and drinking.

Waubonsee Community College worked to enhance 32.5 acres of wet meadow along Blackberry Creek, which is used as a learning laboratory for public school science classes.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the WCC Sugar Grove campus at Bodie Hall, Room 150. Call Tara Neff at (630) 428-4500, ext. 23.

Stakeholder meetings are open to the public.