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This presentation will provide an overview of the formation of a USEPA and IEPA recognized multi-stakeholder watershed group formed to work collaboratively on restoring waters in northeast Illinois. Unique characteristics and current implementation efforts being led by the watershed group will be presented. Conference attendees facing TMDL development and implementation issues will gain insight into the advantages of developing a watershed based group to guide efforts and develop appropriate water quality restoration measures.

The DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup (Workgroup) was formed in 2005 in response to TMDLs being completed for Salt Creek and the East and West Branches of the DuPage River. The Workgroup is a not for profit organization consisting of numerous sanitary districts, municipalities, environmental organizations, county, state and federal agencies, and private environmental firms that have come together to better determine the stressors to their watershed's aquatic systems through water quality monitoring and to develop and implement viable and cost-effective implementation projects and programs to address water quality impairments. The Workgroup has attracted 34 public agency NPDES permit holders and 15 non-permit holders to become dues-paying members. In addition to dues generated, IEPA has awarded the Workgroup two grants worth approximately 700,000 for special studies and implementation projects, with great potential for future funding.

The Workgroup's ongoing and completed implementation efforts include:

Bioassessment of the East and West Branch of the DuPage River and Salt Creek

In 2006 and 2007 the Workgroup conducted bioassessment activities including sampling of macro-invertebrates, fish, and habitat quality at over 220 locations. The assessment described numerous assessment conditions to guide the restoration efforts of the Workgroup and against which to evaluate the impacts of water quality improvement Projects

Dissolved Oxygen Feasibility Study

The Workgroup has developed a detailed dissolved oxygen (DO) model to evaluate DO conditions in area waterways. As a result of intensive study, the Workgroup has proposed the removal of a dam and the restoration of a stream in the Churchill Woods Forest Preserve. Modeling has shown that the dam is the primary contributor to low DO, and that its removal would greatly improve conditions. The dam's removal will also improve upstream phosphorous conditions and provide greater aesthetics.

Chloride Education and Reduction Program Study

To respond to chloride TMDLs approved by USEPA, the Workgroup is evaluating current road salting/deicing practices. Chloride usage in the watershed has been quantified and alternative deicing practices and products that have proven effectiveness in reducing chloride have been identified. The feasibility and costs of implementation is currently being evaluated.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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