is a Watershed?
is an Urban Watershed?
Why Watersheds Matter?
Where is the Indian Creek Watershed?
What is a Watershed Management Plan?
is a Watershed?
matter where you live, you live in a watershed. A
watershed is the land area that drains to a single body of water
such as a stream, lake, wetland, or estuary. The landscape is
made up of many interconnected basins, or watersheds. Within each
watershed, all water runs to the lowest point - a stream, river,
or lake. On its way, water travels over the surface and across
farm fields, forestland, suburban lawns, and city streets, or
it seeps into the soil and travels as ground water. Large watersheds
like the ones for the Mississippi River, Columbia River, and Chesapeake
Bay are made up of many smaller watersheds across several states.
municipal boundaries, watershed boundaries are defined by nature
and therefore watersheds often overlap a number of jurisdictions.
For example, in Lake County there are four major watersheds: Lake
Michigan, North Branch of the Chicago River, Des Plaines River,
and Fox River. These four watersheds are subdivided into 26 smaller
sub-watersheds. A watershed includes not just the surface of the
land, but also the area below the surface. The North Branch of
the Chicago River, for example, drains 94 square miles of land
in Lake and Cook counties. The health of our water is a direct
reflection of how the land in its watershed is used.
Source: "Voices of the Watershed, A Guide
to Urban Watershed Management Planning" by Naomi J. Cohn
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What is an Urban
urban watershed is defined as including urban and downtown areas,
city neighborhoods, suburban
municipalities, and unincorporated areas characterized by encroaching
urban sprawl. The ways people live in urban areas have dramatic
effects on the health of urban watersheds and waterways. Our storm
and sewer systems and our roads, highways, parking lots and other
expanses of paved surfaces all impact urban watersheds, causing
water to move more quickly off the land, which results in larger
amounts of water surging through streams in shorter periods of
experts use the term sewershed to describe urban watersheds, to
emphasize that the urban stream no longer has many natural tributaries.
These have largely been drained or filled and replaced by stormsewer
and wastewater treatment plant connections.
term sewershed is a shorthand reminder of the two main causes
of urban watershed degradation:
The growing percentage of paved or impervious land, which
has a reduced ability to soak up moisture.
The increasing numbers of ever-larger storm and sewer drain
These changes to the urban watershed tend to be worsened by changes
to the urban stream itself. Often the stream is channelized, that
is, straight, deep channels have been dug that are lined with
steel sheet piling, concrete or other hard edges. Even where the
watershed and stream corridor have not been paved, deep-rooted
native vegetation has often been replaced by shallow-rooted lawns
or invasive introduced species such as buckthorn that greatly
reduces water absorbing and soil holding capacity. At the most
extreme, the stream may be reduced to a completely concrete channel,
as in the case of the Los Angeles River, or may run through a
culvert or pipe, like the headwaters of the Skokie River. Source:
"Voices of the Watershed, A Guide to Urban Watershed Management
Planning" by Naomi J. Cohn back to top
condition of urban watersheds has real consequences. Healthy watersheds
can offer many benefits including:
A healthy river through improved water quality
Enhanced opportunities for recreation, environmental education,
and environmentally sustainable economic revitalization
Enhanced wildlife habitat
Reduced flooding problems
An ensured safe drinking water supply
lives in a watershed. You and everyone in your watershed are part
of the watershed community. The animals, birds and fish are, too.
You influence what happens in your watershed, good or bad, by
how you treat the natural resources - the soil, water, air, plants,
and animals. What happens in your small watershed also affects
the larger watershed downstream.
Source: US Dept of Agriculture - program aid
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is the Indian Creek Watershed?
The Indian Creek Watershed is located in central Lake County, Illinois
or in the northeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area.
Our watershed encompasses parts of Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Hawthorn
Woods, Long Grove, Lincolnshire, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, Buffalo
Grove, Indian Creek, and drains from portions of the townships
of Fremont, Ela, Vernon, and Libertyville.It contains 24,108 acres,
which includes 644 acres of lakes and 40 miles of tributaries.
Some of the better known lakes in the watershed are Diamond, Big
Bear, Little Bear, Charles, Kemper, Countryside, Sylvan, Forest,
Bresen, Stockholm and Harvey. The stream system is made up of
Indian Creek, Seavey Ditch, Kildeer Creek, and Hawthorn drain,
Sylvan Lake and Forest Lake drains. Map of the watersheds in Lake County, IL – Indian Creek Watershed is in the south central portion of the map.
sub-watershed was identified by code GU on the Illinois Water
Quality Report (305B) and ILGU02 under Clean Water Act Section
303(D)/Illinois 1998. In 1983, the Indian Creek sub-watershed
was rated in only fair condition having "partial support /minor
impairment." The sources of this impaired assessment included
construction, land development, hydrological modifications, channelization,
urban runoff, municipal and agricultural practices. As this assessment
was concluded over 15 years ago, the condition of the watershed
is likely to be even more degraded due to increased development
and declining natural areas.
What is a watershed
watershed management plan examines all the different aspects -
natural and social - of the watershed. It coordinates the activities
of diverse municipalities and agencies and provides a blueprint
for integrating activities and overcoming the fragmentation that
plagues urban watersheds.
Indian Creek Watershed Plan
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