2000 Accomplishments

New Law Protects State’s Largest Rivers

Working with Representative Kurt Granberg (D-Carlyle), Prairie Rivers helped pass House Bill 3093, making it illegal for landowners to clearcut trees along the state’s largest rivers, also known as public, or navigable, waterways. The legislation protects these rivers from streambank erosion and preserves valuable riparian habitat.

Second Annual Salt Fork River Clean-Up

Prairie Rivers, with the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, the Salt Fork River Partners, and the Izaak Walton League, attracted 125 volunteers to the October river clean-up, despite less than ideal weather. While cleaning trash from the stream, volunteers gained new awareness of the need to protect and cherish this Champaign County resource.

Reducing Pollution to our Rivers

We reviewed and commented on over 60 requests submitted to Illinois EPA by industries, municipalities, and others who wanted permits to dump more pollutants into Illinois streams. We also testified at 8 public hearings, challenging plans to dump pollution into Illinois’ rivers. Through these steps we helped ensure that pollution was reduced in over half the permits we challenged and that steps would be taken to protect and preserve Illinois’ flowing waters.

Outreach and Education

To enlist citizens from across the state in efforts to restore and preserve Illinois’ streams and rivers, we presented Illinois Rivers: Alteration of a Landscape, our slide show about Illinois, its history, and the rivers’ place in that history, reaching over 1,200 people in 30 communities. We published our quarterly Prairie River Notes and distributed it to 350 individuals and organizations, including members of the media, and also published the Prairie Rivers Directory to more than 200 groups and agencies interested in river conservation in Illinois.

With the Illinois Student Environmental Network we co-hosted the 2000 Watershed Training Conference. Experts on river conservation and clean water policies from across the nation to taight 112 students and watershed group leaders how they can protect their rivers, particularly by using the Clean Water Act.

Exposed Illinois Farm Bureau

We published Dirty Water, Dirty Business, exposing how the Farm Bureau, the self-appointed leader of the agricultural industry, routinely blocks initiatives to promote water quality improvement and river conservation. We also issued several press releases on the Bureau’s activities and sent sign-on letters from 29 organizations to the Farm Bureau requesting that they become part of the solution to agricultural pollution, instead of part of the problem.