Why watershed planning groups are important.
Why is it helpful to have a citizen’s based watershed planning group? Because, if you organize as a group you can have a larger voice that can have an impact over an entire watershed. Our organization, the Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd. (ICWP) is unique in Lake County because it is sub-basin oriented and we are a non-profit that is working across municipal and township boundaries. Our watershed encompasses parts of unincorporated Lake County as well as portionsof the villages of Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, Buffalo Grove, Indian Creek, and covers the townships of Fremont, Ela, Vernon, and Libertyville.

When we formed the ICWP as a little non-profit group in south central Lake County in 1999, we were citizens who were worried about the declining water quality of our lakes and streams and increasing area flooding. We started organizing and having meetings to promote citizens based watershed planning. Support from the Upper Des Plaines Ecosystem Partnership and Illinois state and county agencies like the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) and the Lake County Health Department/Lakes Management Unit enabled a more formal watershed planning approach to take place. SMC adopted our effort, applied for some watershed planning grants and this resulted in a finished watershed plan in 2004 and a fully EPA-compliant plan in 2008. Our watershed plan has become the most important tool for promoting better practices in our watershed, but it never would have happened if we did not form a group to lead the effort at a grassroots level....

....We are proud to be a leader in watershed protection and improvements in the state of Illinois and we thank all of our partners who have worked so hard to help us become a model in northern Illinois. Perhaps your group can develop a vision for your watershed like we have.

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The following pollution prevention message is from Lake County Communications:

Dispose of Unwanted and Outdated Medication Properly
Discarding your old antibiotics and other medications by flushing them down the toilet is creating a veritable medicine cabinet on our river bottoms. And tossing them in the garbage is also troublesome. A recent study of mud at the bottom of Portland, Oregon creeks by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed types of almost every kind of pill or other medicine on the market. In total USGS analyzed 139 streams in 30 states and found many pharmaceuticals among a variety of contaminants.


Here are the new federal prescription drug disposal guidelines:
• Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers. Mix them with an undesirable substance, like used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags.
• These containers may be thrown in the trash but even better would be to return unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs to pharmaceutical take-back locations that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for safe disposal.


In Lake County Illinois, SWALCO
maintains several locations for Household Chemical Waste (HCW) Collections, which also provides for disposal of medications.
Go to
http://www.lakecountyil.gov/swalco/default.htm

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