Watershed Plan
Watershed Planning

Watershed plans provide direction and target resources for better management and restoration of the watershed. The plan serves as a blueprint for improving water quality, reducing flood damage, and protecting natural resources in a watershed -- and for preventing existing watershed problems from worsening in the future as a result of imprudent land development. Additionally, watershed planning offers an opportunity for multiple jurisdictions with varying priorities to coordinate their efforts and accept their responsibility for the impact their actions have both up and downstream.
What is the benefit of a watershed plan?

The data compiled for a watershed plan provides municipalities, forest preserves, developers, and others with information to plan according to the lay of the land. Updated information can provide guidance for activities such as zoning, transportation considerations, land acquisition and open space preservation and restoration. Countywide watershed development standards can also be tailored to fit each watershed.
Who should participate in the planning process?

Watershed stakeholders participate in watershed planning. A stakeholder is anyone that has an interest or ‘stake' in the watershed. Stakeholders may include municipalities, townships, drainage districts, homeowner associations, developers, county agencies, lakes management groups, landowners and local, state and federal agencies and individual concerned citizens. The watershed planning process can't happen and won't be successful without the input, interest and commitment of stakeholders. Ultimately, to successfully protect or restore a watershed, residents and communities of the watershed have to work together - sharing the costs and reaping the benefits of watershed improvements.
What is included in a watershed management plan?

Goals & Objectives: Key watershed issues and opportunities are identified by the project partners and other stakeholders during the planning process and are used to develop the goals and objectives for the watershed plan.
Watershed Assessment: An important product of a watershed plan is the watershed resource assessment. In many cases, two strategies are used to assess the current watershed condition. The first strategy is to identify and compile relevant information at the watershed level from existing studies, reports, maps and data on topics including water quality, current and projected land use, flood problem areas and natural resources. This information is collected from a variety of sources resulting in a summary report. Maps are also produced for analysis purposes and for project reporting. The second strategy is to physically survey the watershed to collect information that doesn't already exist.
Action Plan: The most important component of a watershed plan is the action plan. The action plan is a series of recommended programs and projects for improving the watershed. The action plan ties together the responsibilities of numerous jurisdictions within the watershed so each can contribute their ‘fair share' towards prevention and remedies for watershed problems and opportunities. The action plan provides a basis for coordinating and combining resources between jurisdictions to implement practices to improve the watershed.

In summer 2007, The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, in cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), published the Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois. This easy-to-read guide serves as a road map for communities that are interested in developing comprehensive watershed-based plans. More importantly, IEPA directs the majority of funding from its "319 Grant Program" to the types of plans described in the Guidance. In other words, projects connected with comprehensive watershed-based plans are given funding priority by IEPA.
 
 
Resources
Lower Des Plaines Ecosystem Partnership Watershed Plan
Strategic Sub-Watershed Identification Process - Draft Document
Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois