A watershed based plan is not a:

  • zoning map.
  • land use map.
  • comprehensive plan.
  • means to designate land uses.
  • legally binding document.
  • required part of local comprehensive plans.

A watershed based plan does:

  • focus on a waterway (river, stream, creek) and its tributaries.
  • involve watershed stakeholders in a cooperative partnership to focus on watershed challenges and opportunities.
  • establish mission, goals, and objectives.
  • analyze watershed problems.
  • provide recommendations to help with point & nonpoint source pollution issues.
  • recommend voluntary methods to protect, maintain, and hopefully, enhance a watershed’s quality (through stormwater best management practices or other solutions for problem remediation and prevention).
  • develop an action plan to focus restorative and preventative efforts.

Why do watersheds matter?
The condition of 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.

Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois This document was a joint effort by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Illinois EPA.  It provides guidance for watershed planning, to meet the nine criteria for watershed based plans.