Neighborhood Solutions to Wetter Weather: Local Approaches for Stormwater Management

November 27, 2012

A rain barrel.

Northeastern Illinois' precipitation patterns are trending toward longer periods without rain (e.g., this summer's drought) with sudden bursts of rapid, intense rainfall that overloads local and regional sewer systems, causing back-ups to basements and discharges to waterways.

The State of Illinois provides some investment assistance through the State Revolving Fund and Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant. In some cases, a regional entity (such as the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago) helps coordinate stormwater management. Ultimately, however, wet weather must be managed locally at the municipal, neighborhood, and property level. The more coordinated and concentrated the approach—say, multiple investments in the same neighborhood—the greater the impact. 

This MPC and Openlands roundtable features state, local, and private sector leaders working to plan, fund, and implement stormwater solutions. What has Illinois learned from two years of the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant? How might that affect green infrastructure priorities for the State Revolving Fund? Given limited financial resources, how can communities prioritize the location and type of green infrastructure to invest in? What are some proven strategies for encouraging private property investment in improved stormwater management? Governor Quinn's new Clean Water Initiative and the $1 billion expansion of the revolving loan fund are also discussed.
The keynote speaker for this program is Amy Walkenbach, watershed management director at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Panelists are: Jeffrey Wickenkamp, vice president of Hey and Associates; Aaron Consentino, management analyst, City of Elgin; and Josh Ellis, program director, Metropolitan Planning Council.
Recorded Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at The Centre in Elgin.