Prairie Rivers Network’s efforts are focused in three program areas: Clean Water, Habitat Protection, and River Stewardship and Awareness. Here are some of the highlights of our work in 2006:
Cracking Down on Polluters – To complement our program that ensures Clean Water Act permits strictly limit the pollutants that can be discharged to our rivers, we initiated a new effort to ensure that polluters complied with their permits and began notifying permit violators of our intent to sue them if they did not bring their discharge practices within compliance.
Cleaner, Safer Water for Fishing and Swimming– Challenging Illinois EPA’s practice of exempting wastewater discharges from disinfection, we eliminated this exemption at plants from Champaign and St. Joseph to Sandwich and Braidwood and got IEPA to revise their disinfection exemption application and review process.
Mississippi River Clean Water Collaborative – We began a new effort with eleven other groups along the River to improve water quality throughout the river system and the Gulf of Mexico.
Mississippi River Habitat Restoration – We began a new effort to work with local citizen groups along the River to build support for projects that will restore wetlands, side channels and wildlife corridors.
Healthy Land – Healthy Water – We began an effort to ensure that farm conservation programs aimed at protecting habitat and water quality achieve their intended purpose.
River Stewardship and Awareness
Keeping on Cleaning Up– We helped organize the First Annual Boneyard Creek Community Day, a cleanup event designed to connect residents to an urban stream in Champaign-Urbana. In the process we forged partnerships with the cities, park districts, local Rotaries and businesses, the University of Illinois and many others dedicated to protecting this local stream.
Cleaning and Conserving Rain Water – We initiated a program to install rain gardens at local Habitat for Humanity homes and are developing instructional materials for homeowners who want to use rain gardens to prevent polluted rain water from running off their property into the nearest storm drain.
Illinois Stormwater Patrol– We continued training citizens to monitor stormwater runoff at construction sites and elsewhere, and to be on the lookout for pollution in their local streams.