Open Houses for Cahokia Creek Watershed Planning Draw Crowds
Over sixty (60) Madison County residents attended the open houses about the Cahokia Creek Watershed Planning effort in January 2017. The events were held on Tuesday, January 17 at the Madison County Farm Bureau in Edwardsville and Thursday, January 19 at the Glen Carbon Community Center. The public was invited to discuss flooding and general stormwater issues, identify on a map how they are affected, and learn more about the watershed planning process. The results of the Community Flood Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Watershed Resources Inventory were on display. Later on in the planning process, more public events will be held to gather input on the recommendations in the watershed plans.
The Community Flood Survey Results are In!
The Madison County Community Flood Survey for the Cahokia Creek watersheds went out to over 4,000 people in 2015, collecting information about the location, extent, impacts, and causes of flooding in the area. We received almost 750 responses, an 18% response rate. Thanks for your input!
Key findings from the survey
- In the Indian-Cahokia watershed, 21% of respondents experienced flooding in the last 10 years.
- In the Canteen-Cahokia watershed, 11% of respondents experienced flooding in the last 10 years.
- 10% and 6% of respondents with flooding experienced floods at least once per year in the last 10 years in the Indian-Cahokia and Canteen-Cahokia watersheds, respectively.
- In both watersheds, 24% of those that were flooded said that the flooding had damaged their primary home or business.
- Less than 10% of the flooding reported took place inside the 100-year floodplain (which largely lies along streams) in both watersheds.
Madison County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and HeartLands Conservancy are embarking on a watershed planning process for two watersheds that drain to Cahokia Creek. Watershed Planning is a way to strategically identify and address water quality and flooding issues, creating a long-term vision for the improvement of drainage.
Two HUC10 watersheds are being assessed: Indian Creek-Cahokia Creek and Canteen Creek-Cahokia Creek. Water flows north to south, with some of it being diverted west through canals to the Mississippi River. The planning process will bring together technical analysis and stakeholder and public input to create a roadmap for healthier watersheds.
Madison County Stormwater Plan
The Madison County Stormwater Plan is the overall framework for stormwater management in the county which guides regulations, identifies flood and water quality problems, establishes best management practices, and prioritizes work to be done. The Indian Creek-Cahokia Creek watershed and the Canteen Creek-Cahokia Creek watershed are two of ten watersheds that will be assessed as part of the Stormwater Plan. 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 Watershed Planning:
Watershed Resource Inventory
The watershed resource inventory essentially reviews the existing conditions in a watershed. The inventory will document existing conditions in Cahokia Creek and its tributaries including channelization, erosion, and riparian area condition. Information including existing soil types, demographics, land use/land cover, geology, and climate will also be collected. Existing pollutant loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment will be estimated from existing land uses.
Public and Stakeholder Engagement
Involving elected officials, community groups, the general public, and landowners in the watershed planning process is vitally important. Individual and small group meetings with municipalities and other groups took place in the fall and winter of 2015; follow-up meetings will continue into 2016 as progress is made on the project. A Community Flood Survey was distributed in fall 2015 throughout the two watersheds to identify the locations, frequency, causes, and impacts of flooding on people living and working here. The results are summarized in a report for each watershed.
Two Open House events were held in October 2015 to provide residents and the public in the Cahokia Creek watersheds with more information about the planning process. Attendees learned about the watershed, the several "impaired" waters in the area, the project schedule, and more. Several attendees took the opportunity to complete a Cahokia Creek Watershed Flood Survey, providing the project team with input on the locations, frequency, and impacts of flooding in the watershed. Missed the Open House events? Check out the information display boards, which highlight water quality and flooding issues, the benefits of watershed planning, and more. View/Download Boards [make this a link to the pdf]
Based on the watershed resource inventory and input from stakeholders and the public, a watershed-based plan will be developed for each watershed. The plan will identify potential best management practices for prevention, remediation, restoration, and maintenance to achieve water quality, natural resources, and flood control objectives.
Best management practices will be recommended based on the results of the inventory. Some potential examples include: streambank stabilization, conservation tillage, rain gardens, conservation reserve programs, and policy changes. The plan will identify approximate costs of recommendations, a potential schedule for implementation, and funding sources.
Who are the partners involved with Watershed Planning?
There are multiple partners already involved including Madison County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, HeartLands Conservancy, and the Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District. We expect many partners will become involved over the course of the planning process.
How are recommendations of a Watershed Plan implemented?
Watershed planning is an opportunity for multiple partners (local leaders, stakeholders, agencies, landowners, etc.) to develop objectives and goals for the watershed. Input from partners will help shape plan recommendations such as best management practices, improvement projects, or updated policies. The watershed plan will identify sources of funding and partners that can assist in implementation.
For more information on Cahokia Creek Watershed Planning, or to be on our mailing list, please contact Janet Buchanan at HeartLands Conservancy, (618) 566-4451 ext. 25, or firstname.lastname@example.org.