Dr. Cindy Skrukrud
200 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 505
Chicago, IL 60601-5908
fax (312) 251-1780 firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois Sentinels Track 'Bad Nutrients' in Waterways
Illinois Water Sentinels Project builds upon the stream monitoring
of the Valley of the Fox Group (Fox River) and the River Prairie
Group (DuPage River). Three new groups began water-quality monitoring
with the startup of the Sentinels project - Heart of Illinois Group
(Illinois River), Chicago Group (Lake Michigan), McHenry County
(Fox and Kishwaukee) - and a new effort by the Kishwaukee Solduc
Group (Kishwaukee River) will launch in September 2002.
All Illinois Water Sentinels monitoring projects conduct the chemical
and/or biological water quality monitoring needed to address issues
specific to their waterbody. The Valley of the Fox, River Prairie
and Heart of Illinois groups have focused their attention on nutrient
pollution, due to the recognized nutrient problem in Illinois and
the lack of state water-quality standards for nutrients. The Chicago
Group is monitoring bacterial levels at Lake Michigan beaches. The
McHenry County and Kishwaukee Solduc Group are monitoring some of
Illinois' highest quality streams in the Fox and Kishwaukee watersheds,
streams which are lying in the path of anticipated urban sprawl.
These projects are gathering baseline data for these high quality
streams, building a firewall of information against any possible
The Illinois Sentinels project continues the multifaceted approach
to Clean Water Act enforcement taken by the Illinois Chapter. Staff
serves on the multi-stakeholder Fox River Study Group which has
undertaken a $1.6 million effort to model the Fox River watershed
in order to identify the pollution reductions, or other changes
needed in the watershed, necessary to comply with the federal Clean
Water Act and to make the Fox healthy. The model will be used to
guide future development in the Fox basin to ensure that the long
term health of the river can be maintained.
In addition, staff monitors discharge permits under review by the
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and sewer line expansion
requests and participates in proceedings before the Illinois Pollution
Control Board pertaining to changes in water quality standards,
permitting and enforcement procedures. Staff and volunteers have
been reviewing Discharge Monitoring Reports to identify dischargers
who are violating their permits. Staff also serves on IEPA's Nutrient
Standards Development Science Committee and the Biological Subcommittee-Lower
Des Plaines River Use Classification Workgroup.
The Sentinels partner with other groups in their monitoring efforts,
including McHenry County College, McHenry County Conservation District,
Kane County Forest Preserve District, and McHenry County Defenders.
The Fox River Study Group includes representation from the Fox River
Water Reclamation District, Fox Metro Water Reclamation District,
Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, IEPA, Northeastern Illinois Planning
Commission and many Fox watershed municipalities and counties. The
Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest and Prairie Rivers
Network also work closely with the Chapter's efforts on statewide
water policy issues, permit review and permit enforcement.
There are lots of ways to help Illinois Sentinels!
There's plenty you can do to help the Illinois Water Sentinels,
whether or not you want to stand in a stream and take water
samples. To get involved, contact Water Sentinel Cindy
Skrukrud or the Illinois
Chapter office at (312) 251-1680.
Photo: Illinois Water Sentinels held a press conference
to announce the results of their summer-long fecal coliform bacteria
sampling on Lake Michigan. Photo by Jennifer Hensley. Photo of Cindy
Skrukrud by Tom von Geldern.