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Minutes of the Union /Virgil Ditches & East Branch of the Kishwaukee Watershed Steering Committee
September 11, 2013
3 p.m.



Note: These minutes are not official until approved by the Union / Virgil Ditches & East Branch of the Kishwaukee River Watershed Steering Committee at a subsequent meeting. Please refer to the meeting minutes when these minutes are approved to obtain any changes to these minutes.



The DeKalb County Stormwater Management Planning Committee (SMPC) met on September 19, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the DeKalb County Administrative Building, Conference Room East, in Sycamore, Illinois. In attendance were Committee members, Norm Beeh, John Laskowski, Bill Lorence, Paul Miller, Roger Steimel, and Donna Prain. Also in attendance were Mike Richolson, Mike Konen, and County Engineer Nathan Schwartz and Planning and Zoning Department staff Rebecca Von Drasek.

1. Roll Call -- Mr. Miller noted that Committee members Joe Misurelli, Paul Stoddard, Tom Thomas, Pat Vary, Joel Maurer, and Derek Hiland were absent.


2. Approval of Agenda -- Mr. Laskowski moved to approve the agenda, seconded by Ms. Prain, and the motion carried unanimously.


3. Approval of Minutes -- Mr. Lorence moved to approve the minutes of the June 27, 2013 meeting, seconded by Mr. Laskowski, and the motion carried unanimously.


4. Status of Watershed Plan -- DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Community Foundation were awarded, on November 16, 2012, a Section 319 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to undertake a watershed study. The watershed under consideration is the headwaters of the East Branch of the South Branch of the Kishwaukee River. Hey & Associates, in partnership with Baxter Woodman, were selected as the engineers for the project last December. The watershed plan is intended to provide a more area-specific approach to stormwater management and water quality within the study area.


Mr. Miller highlighted the draft Water Resources Inventory Report which was sent to the IEPA. He reported that the Watershed Steering Committee was the impetus of a bus tour of the watershed hosted by the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Mr. Miller explained that the tour had included stops to the Hoppe Farm and the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Genoa. Mr. Miller also reported that the Steering Committee had chosen two modeling methods, PLOAD and HEC-HMS, and had identified 30 problem areas for inclusion within the Watershed Plan. He explained that after the Watershed Plan draft was endorsed by the Steering Committee, it will be the responsibility of the Stormwater Management Committee to adopt the watershed plan and encourage jurisdictions within the watershed to adopt the Plan as well.


Mr. Beeh asked if the modeling study will be available as open source information. Mr. Miller noted that both models are open source, and that he would confirm that the information about the watershed would be available to any entity that could utilize the data but noted that he would not want outside agencies to alter the data.

5. Dredging in Floodplain
-- Mr. Miller explained that DeKalb County has had floodplain regulations since the 1980s. These regulations are a necessary condition of participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is the only way that residents of unincorporated DeKalb County can obtain flood insurance. The County also adopts and enforces the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) produced by FEMA as part of its obligation under the NFIP.


Mr. Miller pointed out that one consequence of the County's floodplain regulations is that when any waterway (natural or man-made) that has regulatory floodplain as depicted on the FIRMs is dredged, the dredged material, or "spoilage," is required to be removed from the floodplain itself. This requirement is at odds, however, with the common practice of depositing the spoilage along the banks of the waterway and "feathering" it out into the surrounding farm fields. Some farmers who have employed this practice for many years are troubled by the increased costs and difficulties of removing the spoilage from the floodplain. The County has received inquires as to whether there are any alternatives, interpretations, practices, or waivers that could allow the spoilage to be placed within the floodplain and in close proximity to the waterway. Staff has been investigating possible alternatives and solutions for the past several months.


Mr. Schwartz noted that after extensive review of the County's interpretation of the regulations, staff appears to be correct that the material should be removed and placed outside of the floodplain. Representatives from the State Division of Water Resources, which oversee grading activities within the floodplains, have indicated no interest in changing the rules regarding maintenance dredging within the floodplain. County staff inquired whether any alternatives could be built into the existing Statewide permit for maintenance dredging, but received a negative response.


Mr. Miller suggested that perhaps DeKalb County could partner with McHenry and Kane Counties to try to petition for a change in the rules to allow the kind of maintenance dredging that has historically taken place. He noted that staff counterparts in these other jurisdictions agree with the interpretation of the DeKalb County staff that the fill must be removed from the floodplain. Mr. Miller suggested that the reason DeKalb County seems to be the only jurisdiction enforcing this is because DeKalb County received a complaint that was also sent to the State Division of Water Resources. At that point, the County had no alternative but to enforce the rules per the State and Federal government.


6. Wetlands Refinement -- Mr. Miller explained that the County's GIS maps currently include layers for topography (two-foot contour intervals), soil types, and wetlands. The contours were developed using LIDAR, and the soil types from official soil maps for the County. The depicted wetlands are based on data provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The wetland data is important because the Countywide Stormwater Management Regulations, as well as regulations of the NRCS and the US Army Corps of Engineers, include requirements related to the protection of wetlands. When a grading project is proposed for an area that includes a wetland, or in proximity to a wetland, a wetland delineation is required, and the project may have to be altered to include protection or mitigation elements. The wetland data on the GIS maps can be used to alert property owners who are undertaking a grading project of the need for a formal wetland delineation. Mr. Miller noted that following the June Committee meeting the Committee indicated a willingness to update the wetland data layer so that it is more adequate. Mr. Miller introduced Mike Richolson, from NRCS and Mike Konen, NIU.


Mr. Richolson explained their proposal to the Committee to provide an update to the wetlands map. He provided a handout which detailed the proposed method which would employ a graduate student for approximately 450 hours.


After a brief discussion of the proposal, Mr. Miller agreed to research the possibility of funding the NIU student to perform the work. Mr. Konen agreed that the work would most likely start in the Spring 2014 semester.


7. Next Meeting:
The Committee will next meet December 12, 2013 at 3pm in the Conference Room East.


8. Adjournment -- Mr. Lorence motioned to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Steimel, and the motion carried unanimously.



Respectfully submitted,

Paul R. Miller, AICP
Chairman, DeKalb County Stormwater Management Planning Committee