The current Embarras River Watershed Management Plan, written in 2011, had a lifespan of 10 years and will become obsolete in 2021. With support and assistance from University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Farm Bureau, the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and several other SWCDs, county boards, municipalities, private landowners, and businesses, in July of 2019 the Coles County SWCD applied for a Section 319 grant through the Illinois EPA with the goal being to proactively update the plan so there will be a seamless transition between the current plan and the updated version in 2021.
The update will give focus and direction to best management practice implementation in the coming 10 years to address multiple resource concerns in the watershed, with particular emphasis placed on water quality due to the Embarras Watershed’s listing as a phosphorus priority watershed in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Having a watershed plan in place also increases the chances of receiving funding from organizations like Illinois EPA, and others, for implementation of projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution in both rural and urban settings within the watershed.
Watershed Planning Meetings
In January 2020, University of Illinois Extension, ten County Farm Bureaus, Illinois Farm Bureau, and ten Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) hosted a series of nine watershed planning meetings across the Embarras River Watershed with funding from an Illinois Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Grant and support for the effort from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
These planning meetings gave farmers and landowners the opportunity to share their concerns and interests across the entire watershed, as well as what tools they desire to help address those concerns. The feedback received from the meetings will be incorporated in the update to the current 2011 Embarras River Watershed Management Plan.
We are happy to share that a draft of the summary report of the findings from the January 2020 meetings is now available to download here. This report provides background information on previous and current watershed update efforts, as well as identifying high level takeaways from each meeting within the watershed.
Please join us for a webinar at 3:00 PM on Monday, April 6, 2020, to discuss the report and our next steps moving forward as we await the decision from Illinois EPA on the remaining funds needed to update the Embarras River Watershed plan.
Advance registration for the webinar is required and can be found here: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=22091
You will receive a link to the webinar via email once you have completed the registration process. Make sure you walk through all the registration steps and hit the “Complete Registration” button at the end to receive your email.
We look forward to you joining us virtually on April 6 at 3:00 PM.