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Watershed projects open for public view

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:25 a.m. CDT

Residents interested in learning more about watersheds in general and about a portion of the Kishwaukee River watershed in DeKalb County are invited to participate in a watershed bus tour and a watershed plan presentation. 

DeKalb County’s second “Know Your Watershed” bus tour is planned for Saturday morning, June 14. The bus will start boarding at 8:15 a.m. at the DeKalb County Community Foundation Depot, 475 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, and will return by 12:30 p.m.

Participants will have an up-close look at wetland, prairie and stream bank restoration projects east and north of Sycamore. The tour includes stops east and north of Sycamore at key sites along the east branch of the Kishwaukee River, including projects with the Sycamore Park District, Ideal Industries Becker Park, the Evergreen Village mitigation project, and the City of Sycamore’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.  

“After many requests to repeat a version of last fall’s first ‘Know Your Watershed’ tour and with the generous cooperation of local partners, we’re able to hold a weekend tour this time which should allow more residents to participate,” Anita Zurbrugg, rogram director at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, said. The Community Foundation is funding the tour. 

Although there is no cost for the bus tour, space is limited and reservations are required and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis through the DeKalb County Community Foundation at 815-748-5383 or barb@dekalbccf.org

After nearly 18 months of input and assessment from community stakeholders, government officials and project engineers, the Draft Union/Virgil Ditches and East Branch Kishwaukee River Watershed Plan will be presented for public input and to address questions from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at the Gathertorium of the DeKalb County Legislative Center, 200 N. Main St., Sycamore. The draft watershed plan will also be available after June 16 at the DeKalb County Government and DCCF websites.

The “Know Your Watershed” Tour on June 14 and the June 19 Presentation of the Draft Watershed Plan are part of an 18-month long collaborative watershed planning project of the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the DeKalb and Kane County governments, together with the DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, and representatives from agriculture and municipalities within the project watershed. 

The watershed study area includes portions of the east side of DeKalb County including Sycamore, Maple Park and Cortland, and the western portion of Kane County.  

“At the end of this 18-month planning process, we have a comprehensive assessment of the watershed and, more importantly, a list of prioritized projects that have been specifically designed to address issues and goals identified through a formal stakeholder-driven process,” Dean Johnson, chair of the Watershed Planning Steering Committee, said. Johnson will be the bus tour guide. 

“Many of these projects present ripe funding opportunities, whether from local, private or government sources,” Zurbrugg added. 

Funding for the project is from the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act with in-kind support through local project partners, including the DeKalb County Government and DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District.

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