Madison County flood prevention effort takes shape

By Bob Pieper For Chronicle Media
Silver Creek watershed (Map courtesy of HeartLands Conservancy)

Silver Creek watershed
(Map courtesy of HeartLands Conservancy)

A Madison County master plan to reduce storm water problems appears about to take hold at the grassroots level.

Property owners and governmental entities within the upper Silver Creek watershed in eastern Madison County can now take advantage of more than $500,000 in Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) grant funding for water pollution reduction projects, according to the Mascoutah-based HeartLands Conservancy, which will help administer the grant program.

The grant was obtained by HeartLands through a partnership with Madison County Planning & Development, the Madison County Soil & Water District, and the National Great Rivers Research, Education Center (NGRREC), and Midwest Streams, Inc., under terms of its Silver Creek Watershed Plan – one of 10 individual stormwater management programs planned by the commission as part of its overall Countywide Stormwater Management Plan.

Madison County is also partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a stormwater management program in the Madison County portion of the American Bottoms watershed, along the Mississippi River.

A stormwater management plan for the Cahokia Creek watershed (including areas along Indian and Canteen creeks) is now under development, following a public input meeting in Caseyville in October of last year.

The Silver Creek grant, comes just as the Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District prepares to wrap up its massive Metro-East levee restoration project, designed to bring an 87-mile stretch of Mississippi River flood wall back into compliance with federal standards and protect the American Bottoms area from up to a 500-year flood.

With the threat of river flooding addressed by the levees, Madison County is turning to interior flooding issues, according to Matt Brandmeyer, Madison County Planning and Development Administrator.

The region is chronically plagued by storm water problems from the aging Ill 203 railroad underpass in Madison to state highways in rapidly developing Edwardsville and county officials say managing overflow, erosion and pollution along rivers and creeks is important to Metro-East.

The Madison Countywide Stormwater Management Plan is being completed by the county’s Planning & Development Department and is expected to be adopted later this year.  The plan is designed to provide a comprehensive, multijurisdictional approach to a wide-range of flooding, drainage, and water quality issues as well as and establish best management practices to address them.

The Madison County Stormwater Commission was formed in 2007 to work with residents, staff, consultants and the Madison County Board specifically to develop a Master Plan for stormwater management throughout Madison County.

The Commission is faced with the challenge of addressing a range of stormwater issues for 725 square miles in two main watersheds, the Mississippi and the Kaskaskia. These issues affect 28 municipalities and 23 townships, and span from large river issues to upland water quality.

The plan outlines practices to reduce flooding, mitigate flood damage, and improve water quality across incorporated and unincorporated area by identifying priority projects by suggesting best practices for land development and developing an organizational and regulatory framework for stormwater management.

Madison County encompasses 10 watersheds: Canteen Creek, Indian Creek, Judy’s Branch (American Bottoms), Wood River Creek, Portage Des Sioux, Piasa, Silver Creek, East Fork Silver Creek, Sugar Creek, and the Shoal Creek headwaters.

The Wood River Creek, East Fork Silver Creek, Portage de Sioux, and Piasa watersheds are to be addressed in the county’s next round of plans.

The Silver Creek grant funding was made available through the IEPA under Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act and will be available for landowners and municipalities to install eligible projects that reduce nonpoint source pollution through 2018.

The Silver Creek watershed within Madison County is located along the Route 4 corridor south of Staunton to the St. Clair County line. The types of projects that may be eligible for funding are grassed waterways, terraces, water and sediment control basins, ponds, waste storage structures (for animal waste), stream channel stabilization and streambank stabilization

There is a 45 percent match required for these projects; IEPA will provide 55 percent of the costs of eligible projects, while the landowner or local partner must contribute the remainder. Costs may include project design, permits, materials, and construction costs. Technical assistance is available for project scoping and design.

Questions about the program can be directed to project manager Janet Buchanan at the HeartLands Conservancy at (618) 566-4451, Ext. 25 or email .

For addition information on the Madison County Stormwater Master Plan, contact planning coordinator Steve Brendel at or (618) 296-4665.


— Madison County flood prevention effort takes shape —