2007 Accomplishments

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 2007:

Clean Water

Cleaning up Our Disinfection Exemption Program – We contributed to an overhaul of the Disinfection Exemption Program for wastewater treatment plants at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) resulting in IEPA reviewing 20 years of exemptions and deciding to apply a more stringent and judicious process for new exemption requests.

Marathon Oil, Robinson Refinery – We prevented two proposed permits that would have authorized excessive loading of pollutants to already impaired streams. We also negotiated an improved NPDES permit and are working for the rehabilitation of two streams badly damaged from Marathon’s historical wastestream.

New Lenox Waste Water Treatment Facility – After four years of challenging IEPA’s approval of a wastewater treatment facility’s expansion request that would negatively impact Hickory Creek in Will County, we received a favorable ruling from the Illinois Pollution Control Board that will likely improve the implementation of anti-degradation policies that are intended to protect streams throughout Illinois.

Use Attainability Analysis – We worked in collaboration with other Illinois environmental organizations to ensure that IEPA proposes upgraded use designations and improved water quality standards for the Chicago-area waterways.

Habitat Protection

Mississippi River Habitat Restoration – We began a new effort to work with local citizen groups along the Mississippi River to build support for projects that will restore the river’s wetlands, side channels, and wildlife corridors.

Healthy Land – Healthy Water – We worked to bring together landowners, farmers, watershed groups, and experts in a joint effort to increase the quality and amount of land that provides habitat for wildlife, protects stream corridors, and helps improve water quality.

Mississippi River Clean Water Collaborative – We continued our work with eleven other groups along the Mississippi River to improve water quality throughout the river system and the Gulf of Mexico.

Keeping on Cleaning Up – We helped organize river clean-ups and habitat restoration days along the Salt Fork River, the La Moine River, and Boneyard Creek. The Boneyard Creek Community Day event received the 2007 Governor’s Hometown Award.

River Stewardship and Awareness

Don’t Rush to Flush! – By partnering with other not-for-profits, and state and federal agencies, we began an education campaign on the dangers of improperly disposed medications, which can end up in our rivers and streams, harming fish and wildlife.

Mississippi River Education – To build awareness about the multitude of issues the Mississippi River faces, we collaborated with other environmental groups, educational institutions and teachers to create an education program for high school students who live along the Mississippi River.

Cleaning and Conserving Rain Water – We taught citizens throughout the state who are interested in reducing stormwater runoff around their homes or businesses the benefits of rain gardens and how to design and install one on their property.

Illinois Stormwater Patrol – We trained citizens to monitor stormwater runoff at construction sites and elsewhere, and to be on the lookout for pollution in their local streams.