IFB funding supports updates for two watershed plans

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in McLean and Vermilion counties will be updating watershed plans for drinking water sources with funding support from Illinois Farm Bureau.

Both McLean and Vermilion SWCDs applied for and recently learned they will receive federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 319 grants. Illinois EPA receives the federal funds from US EPA and works cooperatively with local governments and other organizations to protect water quality in the state.

In McLean County, the SWCD will update 10-year-old watershed plans for Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake, said Jackie Kraft, watershed coordinator with the McLean County SWCD. The lakes supply drinking water to Bloomington.

Kraft explained 319 grants require matching funds, which were contributed by the City of Bloomington and IFB.

The SWCD has collected urban information to add to the plan, but needs to update such factors as tillage practices and shoreline assessments in the watershed during the next 18 to 24 months, according to Kraft. The plan also will explore best management practices that may be needed.

Information will be shared through stakeholder meetings.

The Vermilion County SWCD will be updating a watershed plan that was approved in 2008, said Mitchell Killough, Vermilion County SWCD resource conservationist. The SWCD applied for a 319 grant in summer 2018 and learned it would receive one last month.

Local matching funds were contributed by IFB and Aqua Illinois with in-kind support provided by the SWCD and University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Killough said.

The updated plan will cover the Lake Vermilion watershed, which provides drinking water for Danville.

Killough anticipates the updated plan will be more thorough and include new data sets. Information will be shared during stakeholder meetings.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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