Nearly 80 people from three southern Illinois counties turned out for a stormwater planning workshop.
Tackling flooding problems in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties was the
topic of discussion among county, municipal, state and federal leaders at a
half-day workshop on Jan.31, 2007, at the Collinsville Area Recreation District
in the Metro East St. Louis region. The workshop was convened by the three
county board chairmen: Alan Dunstan (Madison), Hale Haudrich (Monroe), and Mark
Kern (St. Clair). The workshop was planned by the Metropolitan Planning Council
and Openlands under the auspices of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, as a part
of the organization’s efforts to advance stormwater planning in Illinois to
preserve water quality, prevent flooding and improve regional planning efforts.
The capacity attendance of 78 participants developed
strategies for moving forward with county-wide stormwater management planning as
authorized by new Illinois legislation (55ILCS5/5-1062.2).
The legislation is based upon earlier
legislation that allowed counties in northeastern Illinois to pursue countywide
stormwater management planning and regulation with their municipalities. It
extends similar authorization to nine additional counties in Illinois, including
Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in the Metro East area, as well as six
additional counties in northern Illinois. Under the new legislation, counties
may establish countywide stormwater management committees composed of county and
municipal representatives. Stormwater management committees are authorized to
prepare stormwater management plans and to prepare an implementing ordinance
that is effective in unincorporated and incorporated areas after adoption by the
county. Municipalities may also be certified by the countywide committee to
enforce stormwater management requirements within their own communities.
The workshop agenda provided background information on the evolution of
stormwater management legislation in Illinois, explained the basic provisions of
the new legislation, and then demonstrated how other counties have approached
the use of a stormwater management committee and then moved on to develop plans
and implementing ordinances. Finally, county-based breakout groups discussed
conditions in the individual counties and identified steps for moving
Stormwater Management Background
Laying the groundwork were Mike Fruth, director of the Metro East
Stormwater Agency, Lenore Beyer-Clow, director of policy for Openlands, an open
space preservation and conservation organization in northeastern Illinois, and
Scott Goldstein, vice president of policy and planning at the Metropolitan
Planning Council (MPC), which promotes sensible growth and development policies
in northeastern Illinois. Both MPC and Openlands worked intensively with Metro
East leaders and county governments and legislators to create the new stormwater
management legislation, recognizing its importance in rapidly growing counties
throughout the state.
Kay Whitlock, vice president of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.,
has worked with many of the counties and municipalities that have already been
through the process of creating stormwater management committees, developing
stormwater management plans and implementing ordinances. She emphasized the
value of a cooperative county-municipal approach and the flexibility provided in
the legislation for developing a committee and a planning process suited to
individual county needs. The history of stormwater management in DuPage, Lake,
Kane, Will, and more recently with start-up efforts in Kankakee, Grundy and
other counties has provided many lessons and examples regarding different
Developing a Stormwater Management Plan and Ordinance
Mike Warner, executive director of the Lake County Stormwater Management
Commission, explained the basic steps for developing a stormwater management
plan and the range of possible elements of such a plan. In addition, he
illustrated how Lake County developed its stormwater ordinance, how it
administers the ordinance, and how the Commission has, over time, developed a
comprehensive program that includes watershed planning, ecological restoration,
promotion of Best Management
Practices, and outreach and education programs for many audiences, including
drainage districts and homeowner associations. Lake County has used multiple
funding sources to support these efforts.
The Lake County stormwater management
program started with a staff of three individuals and has incrementally grown to
employ twenty employees involved in all aspects of stormwater management.
Breakout Sessions: Moving Forward in Madison, Monroe and St. Clair
Following the presentations, questions and discussion, a breakout
discussion group was created for each county. The breakout leaders and
participants described the current status of stormwater management in the
county, the level of interest in pursuing cooperative county – municipal
stormater management under the new legislation, the resources available and
needs for undertaking such an effort, and strategic next steps for moving
forward to organize a planning committee.
A. Madison County:
The Madison County Chairman is working to identify
county board members for stormwater committee membership. The Council of Mayors
is viewed as the appropriate body for the selection of municipal representatives
to a stormwater committee. A strong representation by mayors is important. A
county board resolution for creating the stormwater committee is in the process
of being developed. Work continues on compliance with Phase II NPDES
In addition, a technical advisory committee with
broad expertise is being formed. To that end, an inventory of entities and
people concerned about water resources, drainage and flooding is being developed
via contacts with mayors in the county.
Among the concerns identified related to
stormwater management were inadequate enforcement of existing ordinances (e.g.
soil erosion and sediment control), the need to include older developed town and
neighborhoods in the stormwater management planning process, the equitable use
of available funds across watersheds, the current availability of financial
resources to establish the stormwater committee and begin working on a
stormwater plan, and the need for public support for stormwater management based
upon expectations that it can actually help solve the problem.
Next Steps for Madison County:
Pass a county resolution to establish a
stormwater management committee and appoint members to the committee based up
on defined boundaries.
Develop recommendations for a technical advisory
committee with assistance of county staff.
Work with the stormwater committee and the
county board to allocate start-up funding for the stormwater planning process.
County board members will need good information as to the benefits of this
Develop a newsletter or other information piece
that will describe the stormwater issues and support the start-up of a
stormwater management planning process.
B. St. Clair County:
The breakout participants identified a process
intended to lead to the creation of a stormwater management committee, provide
broad education and outreach which will support the allocation of funds to the
planning process, identify existing and needed information regarding water and
other resources, and arrange for staff support of the committee and the planning
Next Steps for St. Clair County:
Provide education and outreach to municipal
leaders, township officials and to the general public regarding the need and
the potentials for creating a stormwater management committee and a
Pass a county board resolution to establish a
county – municipal stormwater management committee and define the structure of
Educate the public about funding stormwater
programs and the distribution of benefits across the county.
Collect a resource and knowledge base that will
support the work of the committee and the development of the
Identify the funding and other resources for
staff support of the process.
Create an advisory committee and use it to get
the process moving.
Use current municipal support to bring in other
agencies, organizations and interested citizens to work on the planning
C. Monroe County:
The breakout group revisited the history of
stormwater concerns starting with the flood of 1993, the creation and expansion
of a Metro East stormwater group, and eventual loss of momentum. Monroe County
established a stormwater control plan prior to the new legislation that applies
to projects in its jurisdiction exceeding 5000 sq. ft. in area.
The group recognized that Monroe County does not
have county board districts and for this and other reasons the county needs to
tailor the planning approach to its particular structure and needs. The group
quickly agreed that a stormwater planning committee should be established and
there was considerable discussion about how to move in that direction while
involving all interested parties, such as builders and trade groups, and
achieving a proper balance of representation from incorporated and
unincorporated areas. The group felt that it was critical that the municipality
of Waterloo be involved and fully integrated into the stormwater committee and
the planning process.
The group also identified and briefly discussed
the various available avenues for developing financial support for the
stormwater process, including real estate tax, fees, permits, create a utility
and a head tax.
Next Steps for Monroe County:
Request, at the next meeting of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners,
that a small ad hoc committee be established to work on broadening the
constituency for stormwater management planning and advising on the membership
of a stormwater committee.
Assure that all municipalities are informed of the initiative and
effectively encouraged to participate, especially the municipality of
Identify and develop information and outreach information to county board
members, municipalities, other units of government and key organizations
regarding existing and potential problems resulting from past and future
potential development. Such information should indicate the benefits of the new
legislation as a basis for a county-wide approach to stormwater
Pass a county resolution for the creation of a stormwater management
committee and appoint members to that committee. Consider Earth Day as an
opportunity to launch the stormwater management committee.
Identify potential funding and other support mechanisms for the work of
the stormwater committee and the development of a stormwater
Workshop Planning and Support
The planning of the workshop was guided by a local steering committee
consisting of Mike Fruth of the Metro East Stormwater Committee (Madison
County); Pam Hogan, executive assistant of the St. Clair County Board Office;
Mark Kurtz, county coordinator and director of economic development for Monroe
County; and Ed Weilbacher, coordinator, USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service and Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development,
In addition, Scott Goldstein of Metropolitan Planning Council, Lenore
Beyer-Clow of Openlands and consulting planner for both organizations, Richard
Mariner, coordinated workshop planning.
The workshop was funded by the McKnight Foundation and
Lumpkin Family Foundation.