IEPA reports that nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is the nation’s and the state’s number one threat to water quality. Non-point source pollution occurs when runoff from rain and snowmelt carries pollutants into waterways such as rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, and even groundwater. For more information about non-point source pollution, click here.

How does it work? The Illinois EPA is the designated state agency in Illinois to receive 319 federal funds from U.S. EPA. The purpose of Illinois EPA’s 319 program is to work cooperatively with units of local government and other organizations toward the mutual goal of protecting the water quality in Illinois through the control of NPS pollution. The program includes providing funding to these groups to implement projects that utilize cost-effective stormwater best management practices (BMPs) on a watershed scale. Projects may include structural BMPs such as detention basins and filter strips, non-structural BMPs such as construction erosion control ordinances and setback zones to protect community water supply wells. Technical assistance and information/education programs are also eligible.

This project to update the Aux Sable Creek watershed plan provides opportunities for other long term benefits as well as benefits that are harder to measure, including:

  • Continued support and assistance in implementing goals in area comprehensive plans regarding protecting quality of life, building a relationship between human activities and the environment, preserving natural resources, and providing public open space.

  • A base from which local governments can collaborate and achieve funding efficiencies.
    • A watershed plan providing recommendations for voluntary projects identifies important issues and assists local governments and community members on how to voluntarily & cooperatively work on them.
    • Local governments can use the watershed-wide open space plan to demonstrate how areas fit into their conservation plans when seeking public and private funding for voluntary acquisition of lands for open space.

  • Positioned to qualify for future EPA funding for voluntary projects consistent with the updated plan. (This would be available to groups such as the watershed coalition, local governments, local land trust organizations, other community organizations. Further achieving funding efficiencies.) For example projects and 319 success stories, click here.

  • Long-term benefits and systematic solutions of
    • reduced storm water runoff and flooding
    • improved water quality
    • improved air quality
    • continued wildlife viability

  • Increased property values

  • Fewer public expenditures on engineered solutions to:
    • storm water management and flood control
    • water quality protection
    • erosion control

  • Compliments other local activities:
    • Local watershed organizations: Aux Sable, Nettle, Mazon
    • Kendall County Forest Preserve District
    • Morris Community Foundation’s Community Works program in Morris area & throughout Grundy County
    • Forest Preserve District of Will County
    • Grundy County forest preserve district discussions
    • Prairie Parklands Ecosystem Partnership
    • Illinois Headwaters RC&D formation