Highland News Leader

Funds to help local landowners to fix flooding, erosion issues

This map shows the Upper Silver Creek watershed, which is located along the Route 4 corridor from Staunton to the St. Clair County line. Landowners in this area can apply for funds to install projects that will help solve flooding and/or water quality problems.
This map shows the Upper Silver Creek watershed, which is located along the Route 4 corridor from Staunton to the St. Clair County line. Landowners in this area can apply for funds to install projects that will help solve flooding and/or water quality problems. Courtesy image

HeartLands Conservancy will receive more than $500,000 in grant funding from Illinois EPA for installing projects that reduce water pollution in the Upper Silver Creek watershed in eastern Madison County.

“All of our partners in the watershed plan, as well as residents and landowners we’ve spoken to, are looking forward to building on the Upper Silver Creek Watershed Plan,” said HeartLands Conservancy’s Janet Buchanan. “We’ve examined the water-quality problems and flooding problems, and now we’re ready to implement projects that will help solve those problems.”

HeartLands Conservancy, an environmental non-profit serving southwestern Illinois, applied for the grant with commitments of support from Madison County, the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), and Midwest Streams Inc.

The grant was made possible as a result of the Upper Silver Creek Watershed Plan, which was approved by Illinois EPA in November 2015 and is currently under review by Madison County. The watershed plan was created as a part of Madison County’s Stormwater Master Planning process. Three more watershed plans (for the Indian-Cahokia, Canteen-Cahokia, and American Bottom watersheds) are underway in an effort to understand issues and expand funding opportunities in these watersheds.

“We are pleased to see the county’s stormwater planning being recognized by the state,” said Matt Brandmeyer, Madison County Planning and Development administrator. “The watershed plan was an important factor that helped marshal these funds for the area.”

The funding was made available under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, and will be available for landowners and municipalities to install eligible projects that reduce non-point source pollution through 2018.

Applying for funding

There is a 45 percent match required for these projects; IEPA will provide 55 percent of the costs of eligible projects, while the landowner or local partner must contribute the remainder. Costs may include project design, permits, materials, and construction costs. Technical assistance is available for project scoping and design.

If you are interested in implementing one of these types of projects on land in the Silver Creek watershed, or have any questions about the project, contact project manager Janet Buchanan at HeartLands Conservancy at (618) 566-4451, ext. 25 or email janet.buchanan@heartlandsconservancy.org.

Types of projects eligible for funding

The Upper Silver Creek watershed is located along the Route 4 corridor from Staunton to the St. Clair County line. The types of projects that may be eligible for funding are:

▪ Grassed waterways

▪ Terraces

▪ Water and sediment control basins (WASCOBs)

▪ Ponds

▪ Waste storage structures (for animal waste)

▪ Stream channel stabilization (e.g. riffles)

▪ Stream bank stabilization

Note: Grant funds only cover 55 percent of any project. The landowner or municipality is responsible for the remaining 45 percent.

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