The College of Lake County received a Best Management Practice Project of the Year award Feb. 1 from the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. The award recognizes CLC's work to reduce the pollution of stormwater flowing into area lakes and waterways.
On its 248-acre Grayslake Campus, CLC installed more than 2,500 linear feet of bioswales in four parking lots in 2016-17. Bioswales, which are ditches planted with native vegetation as seeds or plant plugs, are designed to remove sediment, nutrients and other pollutants before the stormwater flows into Willow Lake and Mill Creek. Bioswales also reduce and slow down runoff while allowing water to soak into the ground.
The project was in accordance with the Sustainable Campus Master Plan and the Mill Creek watershed plan, explained David Husemoller, CLC sustainability manager. Project funding came, in part, from the stormwater commission as well as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
"We're honored to receive this award," said Mike Welch, director of facilities. "It recognizes the college's effort to be a leader in promoting environmental sustainability on campus and in Lake County."
Mike Warner, the commission's executive director, said, "This year's award winners exemplify a significant investment to stormwater infrastructure and community involvement. We are fortunate to have such dedicated individuals living and working in Lake County."
CLC's award follows four national and regional "green" awards. In November, the college placed eighth among top-performing, two-year colleges in environmental sustainability, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Last August, CLC received a STARS® silver rating from AASHE, which noted how the college's Grayslake Campus functions as a living laboratory for sustainability. In May, the college's new Science and Engineering building received an exclusive Emerald Award for Building Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. Finally, in October 2016, CLC was one of nine community colleges nationwide to receive a $10,000 Green Genome award from the American Association of Community Colleges, which recognized CLC for incorporating sustainability into its culture.