Ordinance Review - Completed

posted Feb 3, 2015, 12:14 PM by Brian Valleskey   [ updated Feb 3, 2015, 12:51 PM ]

After nearly two years of delay, the comprehensive review of the community ordinances of Port Barrington, Tower Lakes, Lake Barrington, Wauconda, and Island Lake have been completed.  The reviews are located within the Resource Center of this website.  Since all of the communities have adopted the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO) upon the June 2013 revision, the vast majority of the review was based upon that document.  The review employs a partial narrative followed by a checklist originally developed by EPA and since modified for the purpose of this review and others. 

The purpose of a review such as this is to identify potential conflicts or barriers to green infrastructure implementation or Low Impact Development (LID) concepts from a development standpoint initially.  Planners and some community officials are quick to point out that regardless of the conflicts or barriers, each village typically maintains a variance process for just such situations; however the variance "process" more often than not adds a degree of complication to the application and completion of a projects.  It also introduces unknowns which serve as financial impetus for developers to not "rock the boat".  Variance are in place for exceptions.  BMPs are not meant to be exceptions. 

There are more incentives than ever for Villages to incorporate Best Management Practices (BMPs) at the site design level, starting most importantly with the MS4 program which mandates the municipal entity establish these protocols.  The listed impairments within the 9 Lakes Watershed Plan are also a significant incentive to implement change within our respective watersheds.  The 9 Lakes Watershed Plan is also available within the Resource Center of this website. 

Plan Completion - Next Steps

posted Dec 3, 2014, 6:15 AM by Brian Valleskey

Last month the Tower Lakes Drain Partnership (TLDP) formally took over ownership of the 9 Lakes Watershed Plan from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  The final document is attached at the bottom of this post.  CMAP had received acceptance of the plan from Illinois EPA this past summer.  The passing of the torch firmly puts the plan under the control of our grass roots stakeholder groups as of November 18, 2014.  The next steps are in the watershed stakeholders hands.

Serving as the group's spokesperson, Steve Burgoon of the Tower Lakes Improvement Association (TLIA)  has been spearheading the group into further action.  While we have all come to recognize the gaps within the plan and where disconnects may exist for the everyday lake and watershed property owner, the group is focused on closing those gaps through further stewardship of the plan, stakeholder education, appropriate partnerships, and caretaking of the land through protection initiatives and responsible development.

While the daily operation of how the group will further interact is still going through determination, we invite all interested stakeholders to attend the next meeting to be at ZaZa's in Lake Barrington, starting at 6PM on December 8th (Monday), 2014.

The following link for the document will eventually be moved to the Resource Center. 

Will 4 Lakes Grow into 9 Lakes?

posted Apr 2, 2014, 9:58 AM by Brian Valleskey

So the planning process is all but complete with CMAP.  So what now?  As a stakeholder driven group this is an excellent question.  The 9 Lakes TMDL Implementation Plan is currently in Draft status and in IEPA's hands.  Although some degree of editing should be anticipated prior to this document being finalized and ready for distribution, it should be considered for all intents and purposes as a valid planning tool with plenty of backup technical information.  This group was originally conceived with the intent that the planning area would be best served under the meeting of minds that make up several different lake groups and associations with the common goals of improved water quality and environmental health, but how do we best use the document to move towards perhaps reaching these goals.  With the technical information establishing the baseline to reach the goals the groups will need to reach a consensus and partnership group that continues to act beyond the timeline of the CMAP plan and into the future.

Grouping together to emerge from the plan will be a new stakeholder group to help drive the initiatives onward, seeking to reach the common goals for the plan but also serving the individual stakeholder groups that support it.  Stayed tuned as we work to develop a common stakeholder group focused on embracing the plan, building around it, and establishing it into a doctrine which may be used as guidance for the municipalities and agencies who function within the borders of the study area. 

Ordinance Review

posted Mar 4, 2013, 4:25 AM by Brian Valleskey   [ updated Mar 4, 2013, 10:49 AM ]

Development and Re-development in Lake and McHenry Counties is regulated through the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO) and the McHenry County Stormwater Management Ordinance respectively.  in most cases the ordinances are adopted and enforced at the community level.  The individual adopting community can then chose to add additional protection measures or stipulations.  This is important to understand for many reasons, specifically for stakeholders:
  1. Until lately these ordinances have been structured around water quantity control, not water quality control.
  2. As currently constructed there are no numerical standards of water quality to meet.  This is inconsistent with that of several other states nationwide.
  3. Restoration activities are routinely lumped with typical property development, creating barriers for individual(s) and NFP groups to to fund such projects privately or through grants.

The goal of such an ordinance review to find ways to implement agreeable water quality requirements and remove barriers to restoration and enhancement projects to best manage and recover valuable water resources environments.  The later of the two will need to be coordinated at the county level; however, the water quality additions can be implemented at the local level as there are no existing ordinances to overcome.

There are several reasons why stakeholder-citizens should be involved. 

4 Lakes Initiative - End of the Year Meeting

posted Dec 5, 2012, 9:04 AM by Brian Valleskey

The 4 Lakes Watershed Initiative will be holding their end of the year meeting December 19th, beginning at 6:45PM at Viscount Hall.  Please refer to the Meeting Sites locations maps on the Homepage for directions.  We look to go over a recap of the year, the direction of the CMAP project, the direction of the group and what goals we wish to accomplish in the upcoming year.  Those who are interested we will be making a field trip to Sideouts in Island Lake after the meeting for those who wish to tag along.  Everyone is welcome, even those who have not previously attended. 

Next CMAP Meeting July 25th

posted Jul 3, 2012, 4:57 AM by Brian Valleskey

The next edition of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plan will be held at:

Village of Lake Barrington
23860 Old Barrington Road
Lake Barrington, IL 60010

Meeting begins at 2:00pm.  Additionally it should be noted that the project is being called 9 Lakes TMDL Implementation Planning as there are several additional lakes involved in the process.  We hope to encourage as many to join the 4 Lakes Initiative which already represents six and one community. 

TMDL Implementation Kick-Off Planned June 20th

posted Jun 6, 2012, 5:30 AM by Brian Valleskey   [ updated Jun 6, 2012, 5:36 AM ]

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) will be kicking off the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plan at Wauconda Village Hall on Wednesday, June 20th (6/20/12) at 3pm.  The meeting is not anticipated to run past 5pm.  Anyone can attend this public meeting which focus on the process of developing this plan, what it means, and what the plan(s) hope to accomplish.  Attached below is a fact sheet provided by CMAP which breaks down the individual lake body impairments as determined by EPA.  One of the goals of this project/plan is how to address these impairments and developing a stakeholder driven process to remove these waters from the list.  To be successful this project needs a wide cross section of input.  Please plan on attending this important event. 

4 Lakes Planning Area to Partner with CMAP

posted Feb 6, 2012, 2:05 PM by Brian Valleskey

The 4 Lakes Watershed Initiative Planning Area has been chosen by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to complete a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation Plan.  While the details for the plan are still being discussed with Illinois EPA (IEPA), it could be a landmark project for the area and serve as a model plan to other local watershed if successfully implemented.  Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) has already worked feverishly over the past decade to develop watershed plans to preserve Lake County's impaired water resources.  The currently unstudied area will serve as proving grounds for the coordination of several area agency partners, stakeholders, and other concerned citizen groups.  Stay tuned for further updates regarding potential start dates, and how you can get involved as a concerned citizen or stakeholder. 

4 Lakes Chosen to receive Lake County WMA Grant

posted Jan 18, 2012, 7:02 AM by Brian Valleskey

The 4 Lakes Watershed Initiative has been selected as the recipient of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission Watershed Management Assistance Grant for the 2012 fiscal year.  The grant provides the 4 Lakes with some seed money for general group planning, establishing a budget, and exploring ways to increase group involvement.  The group will also be exploring the possibility of establishing non-for profit status to open the door to future grant opportunities.  The group would like to extent its thanks to Lake County SMC and the Lake County Board for recognizing this area for planning potential and wonderful need to protect the local natural resources.

Winter Time = Chlorides

posted Dec 5, 2011, 1:51 PM by Brian Valleskey   [ updated Dec 14, 2011, 5:12 AM ]

The cold winter months don't have to seem so long if you are willing to stay involved.  Each one of us can use the winter months to observe activity within the 4 Lakes Region.  Most importantly is the movement of chlorides.  Throughout the winter it is important to understand the detrimental effects of salts in our local waters, from the harmful impacts on plant roots to the breakdown of soil structure.  Chlorides also greatly increase the conductivity in lakes and streams.  Within our communities there are alternative measures that can be taken to reduce the buildup of ice and snow without environmental degradation. 

Within the upcoming months we will focus on workshops and seminar sessions that provide insight into the direct and indirect impacts of chlorides (salts) within our watersheds and discuss alternatives to continually travel within the winter months.  Stay tuned in...

Due to Illinois' severe winter driving conditions, many dedicated groups and individuals have focused on the usage of chlorides, the overall reduction of it application and its impact on the environment.  One of the most extensive local efforts has been undertaken by the DuPage River Slat Creek Workgroup (DRSCW).  Below is a direct link to a thorough and unbiased report focused on the education of the usage and need for reduction:

Summary points to follow:

Lake County often hosts responsible salt usage workshops sponsored in part by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) and Prairie Rivers Network (PRN).  This group has noted a need for salt reduction for several years. 

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