ILMA’s 29th Annual Conference will include the following sessions as well as a panel on the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge:
Implementing Green Infrastructure: Green infrastructure is more than a tag- line. Two northern Illinois municipalities will describe how they are incorporating green design alternatives in their long term planning to improve storm and sewer infrastructure to provide life cycle cost benefits along with the environmental benefits.
Total Maximum Daily Loading (TDML): TDMLs drive policy and practices for controlling pollutants in Illinois and throughout the country. Presenters will discuss interpreting the data behind them, limitations of the current management strategies, and potential alternatives to the existing policies.
Co-operation and Social Media: Coordinating stakeholders across political boundary lines is an important task in managing watersheds. An example which will be discussed includes the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership (BCCWP) formed across county lines to represent the watershed and how they worked to implement a Pollutant Monitoring Program (PMP). Additionally, how evolving social media is impacting public involvement with environmental programs.
Lake Maintenance Issues: Illinois reservoirs and lakes require management and maintenance to maintain their health and function. Methods will be shared how to develop assessment of sedimentation and how those findings can translate into lake management guidelines while highlighting priority maintenance areas. Dredging is a primary maintenance activity for lake owners and managers; the process of financing, planning, and permitting will be covered.
VLMP and Volunteerism: The Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) is sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and has been used by the state to gather critical data on lake water quality for over 30 years; how the VLMP came to be and continues to be an important asset to Illinois lakes will be explained. Beyond the VLMP, environmental groups are often founded by volunteers and rely on volunteering efforts to continue their mission. A member of The Conservation Foundation will tell how the not for profit organization became one of northeastern Illinois’ oldest watershed based conservation groups.
Lake Management “How to’s”: Understanding and prioritizing a lake management plan can become complicated. This session will give the “what”, “why”, and “how” behind the top ten lake management strategies to help managers understand and plan how to best manage water resources. This session is intended to be interactive and will have panel discussions between the what, why, and how.
Waterways: Monitoring and Modifications: Waterways in the past century were modified by channelizing and impounding to serve only human benefits. The next century will find us modifying waterways by removing impoundments and restoring biological functions to serve the aquatic inhabitants and not just humans. Talks will focus on dam removal and bank stabilization practices in Illinois.
Stormwater Management and Restoration: Watershed awareness and stormwater management can be a complicated endeavor and inputs need to be understood. Discussions will cover the how the semi-rural community of North Barrington fought challenges to develop a stormwater plan, restoration to Lake Michigan shoreline in the effort to reduce swim bans, and the efforts to monitor multiple waterways within a watershed to understand runoff loading.
Watershed Modeling and Management: Global Information Systems (GIS) modeling techniques are applied to watersheds to help understand hydrology and resource usage. A series of talks will discuss how watershed modelling can be used to prioritize restoration activities, impact development decisions, and classify safety hazards.
Invasive Species: Pathways and Prevention: Illinois waters are home to an ever growing population of non-native invasive species (NNIS). The rate and location of invasions can help plan strategies to slow or prevent future invasions especially when many of these species are introduced through organisms-in-trade (OIT) pathways. Modelling, prediction, outreach, and control to address invasive species will be covered.
Environmental Risks: This session will highlight potential risks posed to waterways and groundwater in Illinois. Of special note is the new territory of fracking regulation in Illinois. Other topics will cover herbicide use and road salt storage