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updated: 11/18/2011 9:54 AM

Bull Creek watershed plan gathers support

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By Nancy Schumm
Watershed coordinator

Fremont Township and the villages of Libertyville and Grayslake recently joined the growing list of local jurisdictions to adopt the Bull Creek -- Bull's Brook Watershed Plan.

It is a detailed inventory and action plan for protection of a 14-square-mile watershed in central Lake County.

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This brings the number of groups that have adopted the plan to 11, including the Lake County Board, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Libertyville Township, Mundelein Park District, Liberty Prairie Conservancy, Liberty Prairie Area Homeowners Association, Prairie Crossing Homeowners Association and Loch Lomond Property Owners Association.

The watershed includes parts of Grayslake, Libertyville, and Mundelein, and is bound roughly by routes 120, 21, 176, and 83. Both creeks flow into Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville, where they meet the Des Plaines River.

It includes several lakes listed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as impaired due to poor water quality, including Loch Lomond, Butler Lake and St. Mary's Lake.

The adoptions come after four years of work by a committee of local stakeholders to create the plan. In 2005, a coalition of partners, led by Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, municipal leaders and local stakeholders, began to create a plan for the watershed. The effort was supported by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, and supplemented with funds from the IEPA's Section 319 Clean Water Act program.

The result was creation of a 375-page guide that assesses watershed conditions and provides guidance in solving current problems and mitigating anticipated future problems. A copy can be found at www.lakecountyil.gov/Stormwater/.

The group's meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21, at the Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 West Winchester Road, Libertyville.

A watershed is comprised of the land that flows into a body of water. The term is applied to both large and small water bodies, e.g., the watershed of the Great Lakes, and the watershed of a pond.

Watershed plans are encouraged by the USEPA and IEPA and Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, so local stakeholders can help determine the best actions they can take to improve water quality, reduce flood damage, and protect quality of life.

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