The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission will begin a new watershed planning effort to develop a watershed and flood mitigation plan for the 31 square mile Mill Creek watershed, a tributary to the Des Plaines River in north central Lake County.
The Mill Creek watershed includes the municipalities of Grayslake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Old Mill Creek, Round Lake Beach, Third Lake and Wadsworth, along with unincorporated areas of Avon, Fremont, Lake Villa, Newport and Warren Townships (including Grandwood Park).
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Mill Creek Watershed facts• The watershed consists of 20,110 acres or 31 square miles.
• The Mill Creek subwatershed is within the Des Plaines River watershed.
• Communities within the watershed include: Grayslake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Old Mill Creek, Round Lake Beach, Third Lake, and Wadsworth.
• The watershed currently has a population of 48,198 people, up from 42,533 in 2000. The population is forecast to reach 52,613 in 2030, a 23.7% change. This watershed is one of three that will see the largest percentage of population growth, as measured from 2000-2030.
• The Mill Creek watershed, along with North Mill Creek, has the highest percentage of Illinois Natural Area Inventory sites as measured by land area. In other words, it is home to a high number of protected natural areas, including Rollins Savanna.
• There are seven forest preserves, covering 2,392 acres within the watershed. These include Bonner Heritage Farm, Brae Loch Golf Club, Duck Farm, Fourth Lake, McDonald Woods, Mill Creek, and Rollins Savanna.
• There are 16 known endangered and threatened species within the watershed.
• There are over 4,000 acres of wetlands mapped within the watershed. Of those wetlands, 1,430 acres are mapped as ADID, or high quality wetlands.
• There are 26 known flood problems areas affecting 415 structures within the watershed.
• There are 10 impaired lakes in the watershed:
SMC is hosting two meetings on Thursday, Feb. 28 to kickoff the 15-month watershed planning process. The meetings are scheduled from 1:30-3:30 p.m. or 7-9 p.m. at the Grayslake Area Public Library, 100 Library Lane, Grayslake.
This is an opportunity for landowners, townships, villages, park districts/departments, nonprofit organizations, homeowners associations, lake associations, those living along streams and other stakeholders in the watershed to coordinate land and water protection and management activities for the benefit of all watershed residents.
The watershed is considered a planning priority due to a history of flood damage, including the 2008 flood event, and impaired water quality in 10 of the 11 lakes within the watershed. Estimated population growth over the next 20 years may also impact the watershed's vast natural resources.
A watershed plan will address these problems and identify practices, projects and programs that can be implemented by watershed stakeholders to:
• Prevent and reduce flood damage
• Improve water quality in streams, lakes and wetlands
• Protect and enhance the watershed's natural resources
• Identify desirable green infrastructure areas for flood damage prevention, water quality protection, recreation and education.
The background, scope and timetable for the watershed plan will be presented at both meetings. In addition, SMC and other representatives will be on hand to meet local stakeholders and help the group identify watershed issues/opportunities important to them that should be addressed in the watershed plan.
RSVP to Darcy Hertel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents not able to attend a meeting can contact Andrea Cline, at (847) 377-7710 or email@example.com for more information or be put on a list to receive planning updates and/or results.