Summary of the Drought Response Task Force Meeting Number 4 - August 26, 2005
The Drought Response Task Force (DRTF) held its fourth meeting in the Board Room, IDNR Headquarters on Friday, August 26, 2005. The following were present at the meeting or participated by teleconference:
Lt. Governor's Office
IEPA Public Water Supplies
IDNR Director's Office
IDNR Water Resources
Gary R. Clark
Co-Chairs, Gary Clark and Roger Selburg convened this fourth DRTF meeting at 1:30 p.m with attendees introducing themselves and the agency/division they represent.
Winstanley provided a 3-page drought summary report referencing 6 figures (maps
and tables) of water and climate data which had been sent to DRTF
representatives prior to the meeting. August precipitation across most of Illinois was about normal or above
normal. Precipitation since March
remains much below normal over most of west central and northern Illinois. The statewide rainfall deficit since March 1st
is 7.24 inches, or 67 percent of normal. As of August 25, statewide March-August precipitation is the 6th
driest on record and is the 3rd driest on record in northwest,
northeast and central Illinois. Soil moisture in the 0-72 inch layer
indicates that soils remain very dry across central and north central
On August 25,
record low streamflows for that date were recorded on the Green River near
Geneseo, on Blackberry Creek near Yorkville, on the
The National Weather Service predicts the potential for a varied amount of precipitation across the state on August 26-27, reaching 0.50 to 1.25 inches in most places. The forecast for the following period through the first week of September is for drier than normal conditions across Illinois. Statewide precipitation averages 3.24 inches in September and 2.87 inches in October.
reported that not much has changed since the last DRTF meeting.
provided the following activity report since the last DRTF meeting. In
Steve Chard stated that farmers were relieved to receive above normal precipitation for the last two weeks, which has also halted the spraying of insecticides. Topsoil moisture has improved, and was reported to be 27% very short, 43% short, 29% adequate, a 1% surplus. The corn crop is too far along to have received any benefit from the rains. The corn crop condition was 59% very poor to poor and 41% fair to good. Soybeans have benefitted the most from the recent rains and soybean plants are showing signs of regrowth and increased pod fill with beans. The soybean crop condition was 35% very poor to poor, 63% fair to good, and 2% excellent. The USDA August 1 crop report projected corn harvest @ 1.49 billion bushels (down 28.5% from 2004), soybean harvest @ 376 million bushels (down 25% from 2004), and wheat harvest @ 38.4 million bushels (down 28% from 2004). The 2004 harvest was a record high. Steve mentioned that pastures conditions have improved and good corn harvests are being reported in southern Illinois. However, corn yields will decline as the harvest progresses northward.
Steve stated that on August 16, Governor Blagojevich encouraged farmers affected by drought to apply for state emergency low-interest loans by announcing the State Guarantee Program for Restructuring Agricultural Debt, as administered by the Illinois Finance Authority. Nearly $87 million is available to help farmers obtain loans and reduce the costs of their existing debt. Steve added that farmers interested in applying for the loans should contact Bart Bittner at the Illinois Finance Authority - (217) 782-9792.
stated that there haven't been many problems with fish kills in the last two
weeks but had reports of moderate fish kills in backwater areas of lakes the
week following our last DRTF meeting. The fish kills were mostly "rough" fish, e.g., buffalo and carp, caused
by nutrient rich waters and lack of oxygen. Some ponds have experienced fish kills and Steve noted that the DNR has
a program to restock fish for a nominal fee. The problem with paddlefish dying in the
stated that the navigation issues were getting critical prior to flow increases
as stated in Derek's report. Dredging of
sandbars is still occurring which is not abnormal for this time of year. There are still problems with low flow
controls at the Sinnissippi Dam on the
Ray Pilapil stated there were no new drought related incidents for investor-owned water utilities for this reporting period. Previous reported situations resulting from the drought continue. The water restrictions experienced by Commission regulated utilities is the result of outside factors such as other community restrictions. Both the ICC and the investor-owned water utilities continue to closely monitor the drought situation for any effects on utility customers. On the electric side, there were no drought related issues to report.
Jim Watts stated that IEMA has received no requests for assistance and had no drought-related issues to report.
Detailed agency reports concerning the drought are available on the State Water Survey website at http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/hilites/drought/.
In summary, the drought issues remain, particularly in most
of west-central and northern