There’s a New Funding Source in Town! (…for stormwater management) - Metropolitan Planning Council

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There’s a New Funding Source in Town! (…for stormwater management)

Increasing wet weather means a need for increasing funding for stormwater management.

Chicago’s 2017 mild winter has been one for the books. And while the warmer temperatures have lured us outside to enjoy the warm weather, we’ve also seen an increase in rainfall earlier in the year.

There’s no doubt the stretch of 50 degree days we’ve enjoyed will bring more headaches as it relates to stormwater—increased flooding, water pollution and run-off to name a few. These are issues that trouble communities throughout our region, and current climate predictions forecast heavier precipitation rates in the future. So being prepared is important.

One of MPC’s goals is to identify and open up funding and financing streams for local communities in order to address these stormwater issues.

Whether through our work on streamlining the State Revolving Fund or creating an online guide book, Steady Streams, for local officials about how to create dedicated revenue streams for stormwater management, MPC continues to seek to answer: how can we bring resources to local communities that need it most?

I am happy to report that we are working to open up a new funding source for stormwater infrastructure.

Ever heard of the 319 Grant Program run by the Environmental Protection Agency? If not, don’t worry because many folks haven’t.

Based-off 1987 amendments made to the national Clean Water Act, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) runs a grant program that assists in funding stormwater projects that help control waterway pollution.

MPC applied for and received an IEPA grant to work on four existing watershed plans. Those watersheds are:

  • Little Calumet River South
  • Cal Sag Channel
  • Poplar Creek
  • Lower Des Plaines River

Over the next two years, MPC, its contractor Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, will work to ensure these plans meet the requirements of the Section 319 program.

Why does this matter?

Because once a watershed plan is recognized as an approved Section 319 plan, all of the communities (many municipalities in Cook County) would then be eligible to apply for grant funds to implement on-the-ground stormwater improvement projects in their area. Yay!

This initiative was identified by the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative (CSC), which is a multi-agency, multi-community collaborative born out of a need for improved cross-coordination between state, regional and local units of government as well as private corporations, academics, regulators and NGO’s, who are all concerned about and working on the growing issue of urban flooding in the Calumet region.

The CSC has been going strong since April 2014, is facilitated by MPC and has over 40 member agencies. The underlying purpose of the CSC is to foster awareness of the many ongoing stormwater management initiatives in the Calumet region, establish common goals and identify and work on cross-agency initiatives that further the good work being done in this region.

Stayed tuned for future updates and news about this initiative and how it can assist your community in funding solutions to stormwater management.

MPC is grateful to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for funding this project, in part, through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

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