Calumet Stormwater Collaborative
Coordination between governments is a fundamental challenge to managing stormwater in any geography, be it a watershed or manmade sewershed. Government units have different regulatory and political pressures with varying financial and technical capacities—absent coordination, inconsistent goals, processes and investments will persist. Other non-government actors also manage land or financing tools, and are just as much a piece of the puzzle. In the Millennium Reserve area—Illinois’ portion of the Calumet Region and parts of the Illinois Lake Michigan coast (see map below)—a new collaborative will provide the tools necessary to facilitate coordination.
Stakeholders throughout the Millennium Reserve have identified a wide range of different stormwater management goals, strategies and tactics. The one universal and consistent desire has been for better communication and coordination. That is the core purpose of the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative. The Collaborative addresses three central problems:
- Stormwater overwhelms current infrastructure;
- Green infrastructure’s role in stormwater management is still taking shape; and
- Coordinated action between government units and other stakeholders controlling land, infrastructure, financing tools and regulatory powers is necessary to solve systemic problems in systemic ways.
The Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, facilitated by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and comprised of the key stakeholders controlling land, infrastructure, financing tools or regulatory powers related to stormwater (see list below), was selected as one of the priority projects by the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee. The initial purpose of the Collaborative is to foster awareness of the many ongoing stormwater management initiatives in the Calumet region, forge a shared understanding of terms, establish common goals and identify opportunities to align existing projects (or develop new ones) toward those goals. The purpose is not to slow individual projects, but to determine whether their outcomes can be leveraged to benefit others—all for the collective good. Additional interested parties are welcome to attend Collaborative meetings, and invited experts will frequently attend as resources.
At the outset, the Collaborative will define a specific geography, reach consensus on common goals, analyze what is currently impeding the region from reaching those goals and then develop a strategy and action plan to overcome those impediments. Additionally, early tasks for the Collaborative will include aiding the Ill. Environmental Protection Agency and Cook County in prioritizing a range of stormwater investments in the Calumet, providing guidance to the Cook County Land Bank Authority on its role in stormwater management and scoping out a role for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Local Technical Assistance program. MPC will keep this process moving along by convening the Collaborative for meetings, information gathering, surveying and conversations. In time, the work of the Collaborative will improve stormwater management throughout the Calumet through coordinated, goal-driven planning and investment in both green and gray infrastructure.
For more information, take a look at Collaborative meeting materials.
Center for Neighborhood Technology
City of Blue Island
City of Chicago
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Chicago Park District
Cook County Land Bank Authority
Forest Preserves of Cook County
Friends of the Chicago River
Historic Chicago Bungalow Association
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
OAI Chicago Southland
South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Village of Homewood
Village of Midlothian
Village of Park Forest
This work is generously supported by the Chicago Community Trust.