Overview

Madison County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and HeartLands Conservancy are embarking on a watershed planning process for the American Bottom watershed. Watershed planning is a way to identify water quality and flooding issues and create potential solutions. The planning process will use technical analysis along with public input to create a long-term vision for the improvement of water quality and drainage.

The American Bottom Watershed is an area in Madison Country that is part of a larger watershed know as Judy's Branch-Mississippi River (the name given by the U.S. Geological Survey). In this area water generally flows east to west into the Mississippi River. The watershed includes parts of 16 municipalities, including Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Brooklyn, Madison, and Venice. Notable features in the watershed include Monks Mound (in the Cahokia Mounds complex), Chouteau Island, Horseshoe Lake, and Arlington Wetlands. 

Madison County Stormwater Plan

The Madison County Stormwater Plan is the overall framework for stormwater management in the county. It guides regulations, identifies flood and water quality problems, establishes best management practices (potential solutions), and prioritizes work to be done. The American Bottom watershed is one of ten watersheds being assessed as part of the Stormwater Plan. Other watershed plans, completed or in progress, are for the Upper Silver Creek and Cahokia Creek watersheds. Direction and approval for the Stormwater Plan comes from the Madison County Stormwater Commission, whose members include County Board members and municipal representatives.

The following are components of the watershed planning process:

Watershed Resource Inventory

The Watershed Resource Inventory will document existing conditions in the American Bottom streams, including channelization, erosion, and riparian area condition. Information on soil types, demographics, land use/land cover, geology, and climate will also be collected. Existing levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution will be estimated.

A key part of the Plan will be involving elected officials, community groups, residents, and landowners. Individual and small group stakeholder meetings will take place during the summer and fall of 2016. Open House events, open to the public, will take place in September 2016. As the plan comes together, follow-up meetings will be held. A Community Flood Survey will be mailed to many residents and made available online in 2017. The survey will help identify the locations, causes, and impacts of flooding in the watershed. A key part of the Plan will be involving elected officials, community groups, residents, and landowners. Individual and small group stakeholder meetings will take place during fall and winter 2016. Open House events, open to the public, will take place in fall 2016. As the plan comes together, follow-up meetings will be held.

The Watershed Resource Inventory will document existing conditions in the American Bottom streams, including channelization, erosion, and riparian area condition. Information on soil types, demographics, land use/land cover, geology, and climate will also be collected. Existing levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution will be estimated.

A key part of the Plan will be involving elected officials, community groups, residents, and landowners. Individual and small group stakeholder meetings will take place during the summer and fall of 2016. Open House events, open to the public, will take place in September 2016. As the plan comes together, follow-up meetings will be held. A Community Flood Survey will be mailed to many residents and made available online in 2017. The survey will help identify the locations, causes, and impacts of flooding in the watershed. A key part of the Plan will be involving elected officials, community groups, residents, and landowners. Individual and small group stakeholder meetings will take place during fall and winter 2016. Open House events, open to the public, will take place in fall 2016. As the plan comes together, follow-up meetings will be held.

Watershed-Based Plan

Using the Watershed Resource Inventory and input from stakeholders and public engagement, the American Bottom Watershed Plan will be developed. The plan will identify solutions for flooding and water quality issues related to infrastructure and land use. These solutions are called best management practices (BMPs). Some potential examples include: streambank stabilization, conservation tillage on agricultural land, federal conservation programs, and policy changes. The Plan will identify the approximate costs of recommendations, a potential schedule for implementation, and funding sources

 Download a brochure about the American Bottom Watershed Plan here.