C2000 Projects Related to Balanced Growth Issue - Fiscal Year 2002

The Governor recently announced over $7 million in grants for local Conservation 2000 projects. The C2000 program provides funding for habitat protection and restoration, environmental education, planning and research projects proposed by the local watershed partnership organizations. Several of these projects (over $385,000) are related to balanced growth issues:

River Corridor Resource Inventory
Grant Recipient: Southwest Illinois RC&D, Inc.
C2000 Partnership: American Bottom

Another wave of rapid urbanization and commercial floodplain development is occurring in the Mississippi River corridor from Wood River to East St. Louis. However, minimally disturbed natural resource areas still exist. Other areas exist that could be restored with minimal to moderate effort. These areas can provide environmental and economic benefits if identified and appropriate plans are developed. While basic data (mostly outdated) is available that identifies the location of these natural resources, there is no single source that identifies both the resource location and the quality of the resource. This project entails conducting a natural resource inventory of the Mississippi River corridor from Wood River to East St. Louis (Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties). Specific attention will be given to identifying the quality of the remaining natural resources. Data will be mapped, cataloged, and analyzed to identify "high" quality resources, potential resource connections/linkages, quantify habitat diversity, areas worthy of restoration or enhancement, and need for buffer areas. A written report including recommendations and prioritization of future actions (protection and restoration projects) will be published.

Peoria Area Environmental Corridor Inventory
Grant Recipient: City of Peoria, Department of Planning and Zoning

C2000 Partnership: Illinois River Bluffs

Peoria County in partnership with Fondulac Park District, Peoria Park District, Prairie Rivers RC&D, The Nature Conservancy, and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has identified a need to create a Peoria Area Environmental Corridor Inventory. The project partners have identified the bluffs of the Illinois River Valley as a global priority to preserve. They also recognize these environmentally sensitive areas face immediate development pressures, which require mechanisms be put in place to preserve these resources.

The project area includes the Fondulac Park District in Tazewell and all of Peoria County. A two-step method will be used to prepare the inventory. Both steps will use one consultant under contract with Peoria County. The first step is to develop a vegetative cover-type map of the area depicting habitat types as defined by the Illinois Natural History Survey Technical Report. Information including stream resources, natural area inventories, wetland resources and inventories, soils characteristics from the Soil Surveys, historic land cover data, and groundwater resources will be identified and compiled in this first step. The partners acknowledge that gaps will exist in the habitat types that are found. The second step will be to use expert knowledge to identify and prioritize those gaps. Once identified and prioritized, the consultant will prepare field surveys to assess the condition and sensitivity of the resources present, and possibly examine high-risk areas already identified in greater detail. The final analysis and data will be provided in three different formats – (1) a poster-type map with text and graphics, (2) a CD containing the data gathered in a GIS format, and (3) a power point presentation to be used when talking to the public, public or civic groups, or professional colleagues.
Anticipated Completion Date: late 2003

Northeastern Illinois Natural Resources Outreach and Technical Assistance

Grant Recipient: Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC)
C2000 Partnership: Chicago Wilderness

NIPC proposes to work directly with local government and relevant organizations and agencies, in cooperation with Ecosystem Partnerships, IDNR Ecosystems Division staff and Ecosystem Administrators to promote improved planning, protection, acquisition, and restoration practices that better conserve terrestrial and aquatic resources. This project will be administered from Chicago and will benefit Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.

Economic Analysis and Model Ordinance Language Development - Blackberry Creek Watershed
Grant Recipient: Kane County Environmental Management Department
C2000 Partnership: Fox River

The fundamental goal of this project is to improve water quality and reduce flooding in the Blackberry Creek Watershed, and ultimately in all waters in Northeast Illinois, by modifying future development plans. Conservation design practices have been promoted by local and state planning agencies, but local zoning rules often prohibit these practices, and municipal leaders do not have sufficient data to judge their long-term economic impact. Development of model ordinance language will provide officials the language necessary to allow and promote conservation design practices. The development of model ordinance language will also include an analysis of municipalities' existing zoning codes and how they may be modified in order to better allow and encourage conservation design practices versus traditional development practices. This project complements several ongoing programs in the Blackberry Creek Watershed (in southern Kane and northern Kendall Counties). In particular, a separately funded U.S. EPA Alternative Futures project will produce conservation design templates and a quantification of water quality and aquatic habitat benefits of conservation design. This project will run parallel with the latter stages of the Alternative Futures Project. The final products will include a report of economic costs and benefits of implementing conservation design and development, model ordinance language, and reports for all municipalities listing potential changes to zoning codes to allow conservation design proposed in the U.S. EPA Alternative Futures Project. Anticipated Completion Date: late 2003.

Visioning and Indicators
Grant Recipient: Center for Neighborhood Technology
C2000 Partnership: Thorn Creek

Two goals of the Thorn Creek Ecosystem Partnership (Cook County) plan(completed in 2000) are (1) to integrate the watershed's natural resources into the life and future of the community; and (2) to foster and facilitate citizen involvement with the Thorn Creek watershed. Four related objectives of the plan are to improve water quality, hydrology and hydraulics in watershed streams, lakes and wetlands; to improve environmental education, public outreach and scientific research; to improve conservation/environmental practices related to sustainable development; and to encourage the use of natural resources to create an (socio) economic benefit to local communities.

Achievement of these goals and objectives will require a "collective will" on the part of people who make decisions about their own landscapes and leaders who make decisions about changes to community landscapes. The Visioning and Indicators process is designed to encourage proactive efforts by citizens and their leaders to preserve and enhance both the quality of their own environment and the quality of their lives.

This proposal is closely related to a similar proposal being made to the Lake Calument Ecosystem Partnership. The need for Visioning and Indicators for better decisions within that watershed is so closely related to the needs in the Thorn Creek Ecosystem that, after the initial visioning process, the preparation and implementation of Indicators is proposed to be conducted by a group representing both Partnerships.

The C-2000 funds will be used to conduct a series of seven sessions in the watershed. The objective of these sessions will be to: gain a comprehensive knowledge of the watershed, the concerns of its residents, and the hidden assets of its communities; map natural areas and critical decision-points (such as major land use decisions) that will affect their sustainability; visualize the results of projected growth or decline of population and economic components; envision a business-as-usual scenario for the watershed and a preferred scenario; and construct Indicators of Progress toward the preferred future. These indicators will then be used during special watershed events and will be submitted to the media as an annual Report Card for the watershed's public and private decision-makers.

Kishwaukee Sustainable Development Guide
Grant Recipient: McHenry County Defenders
C2000 Partnership: Kishwaukee River

This guide for Kishwaukee municipalities will be produced and distributed to 27 public bodies within the watershed to help raise awareness of the high quality natural resources of the Kishwaukee watershed among municipal and county officials in Boone, DeKalb, Kane, McHenry, Ogle, and Winnebago counties.

Sangamon County Natural Areas Inventory
Grant Recipient: Friends of Carpenter Park

C2000 Partnership: Lower Sangamon Valley

The Friends of Carpenter Park will hire part-time staff to focus on the green spaces outlined in the Sangamon County Greenspace Plan. This project will hire a field researcher, assistance field researcher and writer to perform surveys for 20 days during the growing season.

Outreach to Developers in the Illinois River Bluffs
Grant Recipient: The Nature Conservancy
C2000 Partnership: Illinois River Bluffs

The Conservancy will conduct a series of roundtables with developers for one year (2002). C2000 funds will be used to create resource packets that will focus on sustainable development alternatives. This project will be located at Peoria and will benefit Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties.

Building the Foundation for Conservation Development

Grant Recipient: Prairie Rivers Resource Conservation and Development
C2000 Partnership: Illinois River Bluffs

This project will audit the existing regulations for East Peoria/Tazewell County, develop a report and hold a workshop for local officials to discuss findings and recommendations, and explore the local government approval process for proposed conservation development in the Farm Creek watershed adjacent to East Peoria. This project will be located at East Peoria, in Tazewell County.

For more information on the C2000 program go to http://www.dnr.state.il.us/orep/pfc/.

Contact: Tom Heavisides
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, Illinois 62702

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Office of Realty and Environmental Planning