Water Quality - Watersheds, Illinois State Water Survey

Water Quality

Watersheds - Projects

See projects below for contact information

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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River
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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River - Phase II
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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek Watersheds, Coles and Cumberland Counties, Illinois
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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Nutrient Monitoring for the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program
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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Geomorphic Monitoring for the Big Creek Watershed– Cache River Basin
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Illinois River Watershed & Pool Assessments and Computerized Inventory and Database System
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Illinois River Watershed Hydrologic Model Development
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Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring in the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River Watersheds
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Upper Sangamon River Watershed Monitoring for the USEPA Targeted Watershed Study
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Watershed Modeling to Evaluate Water Quality at Intakes of Small Drinking Water System
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Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed
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Watershed Monitoring in Support of Water Quality-Strategic Research Initiative Collection Needs

Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River

Principal Investigators: S. McConkey, M. Machesky, and V. Knapp

Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, 4/1/2002 - 6/30/2003

ABSTRACT: In consultation with the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has proposed a multi-phase water quality study of the Fox River watershed from Stratton Dam to the Illinois River confluence. The ultimate objective of the full study is to identify significant watershed issues and implement a watershed plan that includes data collection, model development, and monitoring. Research findings will provide guidance for public and private planners and decision-makers. At the request of the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has provided funding for ISWS to conduct phase one of the study, which entails compilation and review of relevant information to identify significant water quality concerns, available data, and data gaps. A database of water quality and attendant data will be compiled to serve as a foundation for modeling, analysis, and comparative study. Throughout the project, ISWS staff will meet with the Fox River Study Group and provide project updates for review and comment.

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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River - Phase II

Principal Investigators: S. McConkey, L. Lin, A. Bartosova, J. Singh

Funded by Fox River Study Group, 11/1/2003 – 2/28/2006

ABSTRACT: In consultation with the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has proposed a multi-phase water quality study of the Fox River watershed from Stratton Dam to the Illinois River confluence. The ultimate objective of the full study is to identify significant watershed issues and implement a watershed plan that includes data collection, model development, and monitoring. At the request of the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency provided funding for ISWS to conduct phase one of the study which is now complete. The full report Fox River Watershed Investigation – Stratton Dam to the Illinois River: Water Quality Issues and Data Report to the Fox River Study Group, Inc., is posted at the web site http://ilrdss.isws.illinois.edu/fox. The Fox River Study Group has continued supporting the project through local funds and the current work includes development of data sets for the water quality models and customizing the model framework to meet study needs.

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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek Watersheds, Coles and Cumberland Counties, Illinois

Principal Investigator: L. Keefer

Project Staff: S. Curtis, K. Rennels, B. Rios, A. Russell, and J. Slowikowski

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 2000-2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation 2000 Embarras River Ecosystem Partnership is a group of public and private members interested in improving the ecosystem in the Embarras River watershed. To better understand the cumulative impacts of future best management practices implemented in the watershed, the partnership wanted to establish baseline hydrologic, sediment, and water quality data. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) received a grant through the Embarras River Ecosystem Partnership for Conservation 2000 Ecosystem Program funds to conduct a two-year monitoring study of the two watersheds. The Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek watersheds lie in three counties in southeastern Illinois. The total drainage area of Hurricane Creek and Kickapoo Creek at their confluences with the Embarras River are 56 and 101 square miles, respectively. Approximately 65 percent of the watersheds for both creeks are in row crop agricultural production with approximately 25 percent in grassland/woodlands use. The project established three streamgaging stations and collected suspended sediment and nitrate-nitrogen samples for a two-year study period (2000-2002) and atrazine samples during the second year only.

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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Nutrient Monitoring for the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer and M. Demissie

Project Staff: R. Allgire, S. Curtis, B. Rios, A. Russell, and J. Slowikowski

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1999-2003

ABSTRACT: Hydrology, sediment, and nutrients were monitored in watersheds identified by the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program Task Force for the purpose of evaluating cumulative effects of best management practices (BMPs) implemented by several state and federal agency programs. These monitoring efforts, in collaboration with other researchers, will determine whether intensively applied BMPs affect water quality and wildlife habitat. Monitoring programs were established in the Big Creek watershed (Cache River), Hurricane/Kickapoo Creeks watershed (Embarras River) and Sugar Creek watershed (Kaskaskia) to collect sediment and nutrient data before and during the project's implementation phase.

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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Geomorphic Monitoring for the Big Creek Watershed–Cache River Basin

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer

Project Staff: R. Allgire, E. Bauer, M. Richardson

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: Big Creek is one of two tributaries (Big Creek and Cypress Creek) which flow into sensitive wetland areas in the Cache River Valley. The main concern is the amount of sediment deposited in the vicinity of Buttonland Swamp which has several sensitive ecosystems managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): Cache River State Natural Area and Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Based on a previous ISWS study, Big Creek was identified as contributing the highest tributary sediment load to the Cache River-Buttonland Swamp wetland area. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has been monitoring and studying the hydrology and sediment transport of the Cache River Basin and its tributaries since 1986. Much of this data have been used in modeling the hydrology of the Big Creek watershed and its influence on the hydraulics in the Lower Cache River by the ISWS to assist in watershed management efforts to reduce runoff, thereby erosion, in the Big Creek watershed. Based on the ISWS monitoring and modeling efforts, IDNR C2000 Ecosystem Program funds have targeted the Big Creek channel for stream restoration efforts. These funds have also initiated the installation of detention ponds throughout the Big Creek watershed to reduce peak runoff, which contributes to the reduction of upland and stream channel erosion. The dataset compiled by the ISWS before these practices were installed lays the groundwork for post project evaluation. The ISWS is continuing the hydrologic, sediment, and geomorphic monitoring during and after all these practices are installed and will be key for the future evaluation of these projects and the usefulness of these approaches in other sensitive watersheds around the state.

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Illinois River Watershed & Pool Assessments and Computerized Inventory and Database System

Principal Investigators: William P. White and Mike Demissie

Project Staff: John Beardsley, Long Duong, Jon Rodsater, Joy Telford, Brad Larson

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Office of Resource Conservation, 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: This project is designed to perform assessments in the Illinois River Basin including the tributary watersheds to identify project locations for restoration related construction to meet overall goals and objectives of the Illinois River Basin and Tributaries Ecosystem Restoration Project. The intent is to bring focus and coordinated integration to the assessment efforts. The watershed assessment efforts include collection and analysis of data to specifically be used to locate, scientifically describe, prioritize, and provide guidance in design and implementation of on-the-ground, multi-objective, natural resource restoration or naturalization projects that control erosion and sediment transport and restore or enhance habitat and overall ecosystem health of the basin.

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Illinois River Watershed Hydrologic Model Development

Principal Investigator: M. Demissie

Funded by US Army Corps of Engineers, 9/30/2001 - 9/28/2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois State Water Survey has initiated the development of hydrologic model for the Illinois River basin as a component of the Illinois Rivers Decision Support System developed for organizing and disseminating information in support of the Illinois River Ecosystem Restoration project and the Illinois Rivers 2020 program. The model will be developed within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's BASINS framework. The initial phase involves delineating the Illinois River watershed into sub-basins and developing a basinwide HSPF model. The model will be calibrated for two sub-basins to guide parameter selection for entire basins. A preliminary hydrologic model for the entire basin will be improved continuously by calibrating for more sub-basins.

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Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Principal Investigators: M. Demissie and L. Keefer

Field and Data Processing: J. Slowikowski, Mike Smith, Josh Stevens, and K. Stevenson

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Management Section, 11/30/1998 - 6/30/2007

ABSTRACT: This project is operating a sediment and nutrient monitoring program within the Illinois River basin that can produce sufficient data to evaluate the results from the implementation of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The Illinois River CREP is a result of an agreement between the State of Illinois and the United States Department of Agriculture to implement conservation practices in the Illinois River watershed over a 15-year period to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife.

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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River Watersheds

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer and B. Bogner

Project Staff: S. Curtis and K. Rennels

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 1999-2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation 2000 Vermilion River Ecosystem Partnership is a group of public and private members interested in improving the ecosystem in the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds. To better understand the cumulative impacts of future best management practices (BMPs) implemented in the watersheds, the partnership wanted to establish a 2-year baseline hydrologic and water quality dataset. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) conducted a two-year watershed monitoring study of the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds. The Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds lie in seven counties in east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana in the Wabash River Basin. The drainage areas of the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River at their confluences with the Wabash River are 1,434 and 244 square miles, respectively. Lake Vermilion, a 660-acre impounded reservoir located on the North Fork Vermilion River, is the main municipal drinking water supply for the City of Danville, Illinois. The Little Vermilion River is the main tributary for the 63-acre Georgetown Reservoir, the municipal drinking water supply for the community of Georgetown, Illinois. Approximately 88 percent of the watersheds for both rivers are in agricultural production with approximately 5 percent in forest/woodlands and wetlands. The ISWS established a streamgaging station on the Little Vermilion River near Sidell and monitored the hydrology, sediment, and nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate-N) there and at three U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging sites in the Vermilion River watershed (Middle Fork Vermilion River above Oakwood, North Fork Vermilion River near Bismarck, and Vermilion River near Danville). Sampling at the Little Vermilion River station for three pesticides (atrazine, alachlor, and metolachlor) was done on a weekly basis from June to October 2002.

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Watershed Modeling to Evaluate Water Quality at Intakes of Small Drinking Water System

Principal Investigators: D. Borah and E. Krug

Field and Data Processing: M. Bera

Funded by Midwest Technology Assistance Center, 3/2/2004 – 3/25/2005

ABSTRACT: The overall goal is to develop models as source-water protection assessment tools for operators of small Midwestern surface water supply systems and test the modeling system on an Illinois watershed while assessing and evaluating water quantities and qualities at intakes of all the small public water supplies within the watershed. Based on ongoing research of the P.I.s, the watershed scale continuous model SWAT is selected for the modeling system. It will be expanded with a storm event component. The 3,200 square mile Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois is chosen for its watershed attributes and its density of small public water supplies. The modeling system will be also used to evaluate alternative watershed management scenarios in protecting or improving water quantities and qualities at the intakes.

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Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer, M. Demissie, and E. Bauer

Project Staff: Mary Richardson and Marguerite Tan

Funded by the City of Decatur, Illinois, 1993-Present

ABSTRACT: Lake Decatur is the water supply reservoir for the City of Decatur. The reservoir was created in 1922 by impounding the flow of the Sangamon River in east-central Illinois, has a surface area of 4.4 square miles, and maximum storage capacity of 28,000 acre-feet (9,125 million gallons). Total water withdrawal from the Lake currently averages 39 million gallons per day for a population of 86,705. The drainage area of the Sangamon River upstream of the Lake Decatur dam is 925 square miles. The watershed includes portions of seven counties in east-central Illinois and agriculture is the predominant land use in the watershed, comprising over 80 percent of the land area. Lake Decatur has high concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate-N) and has been periodically exceeding the Safe Drinking Water Act standard of 10 milligrams per liter since 1979. This created a serious situation for the drinking water supply of the City of Decatur, since nitrate-N cannot be removed from finished drinking water through regular water purification processes. Since 1993, the Illinois State Water Survey has received grants from the City of Decatur to monitor the Lake Decatur watershed for trends in nitrate-N concentrations and loads to identify any significant changes in the watershed. The City of Decatur constructed an ion exchange facility to remove nitrate from the drinking water which came on-line in June 2002. The ISWS continues to monitor for the purpose of collecting reliable hydrologic and water quality data throughout the watershed for use by city planners to efficiently operate the nitrate removal facility and by resource managers to develop watershed management alternatives based on scientific data.

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Watershed Monitoring in Support of Water Quality-Strategic Research Initiative Collection Needs

Principal Investigator: L. Keefer

Project Staff: E. Bauer, K. Rennels, R. Allgire

Funded by Council for Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), 2000-2003

ABSTRACT: The objective of this project was to collect intensive and reliable stream data for quantitative analyses and modeling research to address watershed mass balance issues. This project also enhanced and leveraged data collection efforts by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the City of Decatur. The data collected from these sites complemented studies conducted by the Mass Balance Team of the Water Quality-SRI by providing the surface water data component of a nutrient mass balance study. The streamflow, sediment, and nutrient data were used by several C-FAR WQ-SRI team researchers for streamgaging stations in two watersheds in Illinois: Upper Sangamon River (Big Ditch, Camp Creek, and Sangamon River at Monticello) and Cache River (Big Creek). The data collection began in March 2000 and ended June 2003, except for Camp and Big Creeks which ended June 2002.

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Upper Sangamon River Watershed Monitoring for the USEPA Targeted Watershed Study

Principal Investigator: L. Keefer

Project Staff: E. Bauer and M. Richardson

Funded by Agricultural Watershed Institute – USEPA Grant, 2005-2007<

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) awarded a grant to the Agricultural Watershed Institute to conduct a three-year study in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed (USRW) to address behavioral, technical and economic aspects of nutrient management associated with agricultural crop production. The goal of the study is to improve water quality by reducing nutrient discharges from agricultural areas by incorporating market-based implementation mechanisms. The AWI Study is composed of three projects addressing behavioral, technical and economic aspects of nutrient management: Project 1 - On-farm trials of risk management measures to improve nitrogen fertilizer efficiency; Project 2 - Demonstration of drainage management in combination with subsurface denitrifying bioreactors; and Project 3 - Assessment of economic and water quality benefits of soil testing and variable rate technology for management of nutrients, especially phosphorus. The ISWS is a partner in the USEPA grant and will monitor streamflow and nutrients for Projects 1 and 3 following the “paired watershed” approach established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Project 1 will monitor nitrogen and have 2 pairs of watersheds with 1 pair located in the Friends Creek watershed and the other in the Big Ditch watershed. The paired watersheds for Project 3 is also in Big Ditch and phosphorous will be monitored.

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