Water Quality - Rivers & Streams, Illinois State Water Survey

Water Quality

Rivers & Streams - Projects

See projects below for contact information

Floods
 - Flood Protection and Management for the Lower IL River System: Phase III
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Floodplain Map Modernization
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Quantifying the Impacts of Land Cover Change and of Climate Change on Floods in Northeastern Illinois
Modeling
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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
 - Illinois River Watershed Hydrologic Model Development
 - Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model
 - Developing of Risk Propagation Model for Estimating Ecological Responses of Streams to Anthropogenic Watershed Stresses and Stream Modifications: Database Structure and Development of Risk Model
Monitoring
 - Effective Discharges of Illinois Streams
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Initial Stream Stability Assessment of a Segment of Hickory Creek (Pilcher Park Dam to Washington Street); Joliet, Illinois
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Low Frequency Estimation for Sugar Creek
 - National Monitoring for Instream Habitat and Urban Fisheries in the Waukegan River
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Update of the 7-Day 10-Year Low Flow Maps for Illinois
Sedimentation
 - Illinois River Sediment Budget Update
 - Investigation of Metal and Organic Contaminant Distributions and Sedimentation Rates in Backwater Lakes along the Illinois River
Rehabilitation/Restoration
 - Construct Stream Stabilization Structures on Targeted Sites
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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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Illinois River Watershed & Pool Assessments and Computerized Inventory and Database System
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Installation of Newbury Riffles in the Cache River to Stabilize the Streambed and Enhance Habitat

Construct Stream Stabilization Structures on Targeted Site

Principal Investigator: Bill White

Field and Data Processing: L. Duong, J. Rodsater and J. Beardsley

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources until 6/30/2003

ABSTRACT: The goal of this project is to design and construct stream channel stabilization projects for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Stream channel instability has been a major source of sediment and loss of property value around the state. Loss of IDNR state property value from erosion and sedimentation results in large-scale capital projects to mitigate damages. A major component of such efforts is the construction phase of stream stabilization projects based on watershed scale analysis of stream instability. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), in cooperation with IDNR, will identify locations of stream instability, design appropriate channel stabilization projects, and construct the projects. The ISWS also will collect data for postconstruction evaluation of channel stabilization projects such as vanes and Newbury weirs.

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Effective Discharges of Illinois Streams

Principal Investigator: V. Knapp

Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency until 11/30/2002

ABSTRACT: The hydrologic regime of a natural river is usually highly complex and encompasses a wide range of discharges. Magnitudes and frequencies at which various discharges occur play a key role in creating channel morphology. The concept of effective discharge proposes that there exists a single discharge that encompasses all morphological impacts that a stream's hydrologic regime has on forming and maintaining stable channel morphology. Stream restoration efforts potentially can use this discharge to help design morphologically stable channels. Suspended sediment data collected at 88 gaging stations within Illinois are being analyzed to determine which stations currently have sufficient suspended sediment data to estimate effective discharges. A procedure is being developed and implemented to compute effective discharge values for the qualifying stream locations. For each gaging location, an estimate is made of the flow frequency at which the effective discharge is equaled or exceeded at each gaging station. Linear regression analyses, based on the effective discharge, channel slope, watershed area, and physiographic unit associated with each gaging station, are then used to examine potential geographic variations in effective discharge within Illinois' streams.

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Flood Protection and Management for the Lower IL River System: Phase III

Principal Investigators: M. Demissie Y. Lian, and V. Knapp

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 7/1/2000 - 6/30/2002

ABSTRACT: This project is improving the Windows-based interface developed for the Office of Water Resources Management, Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The required input and output files for the UNET model are organized in the project file. The user can create project files to run the UNET model for historic, design, real-time, and forecasted flood events using UNET geometry and boundary condition files. The post-processing of the model outputs - namely, the Data Storage System (DSS) database - uses data grid tables for easy selection of path strings. The graphing function allows users to plot single and multiple hydrographs and single reach and multiple reach stage profiles. For the Lower Illinois River, the location and magnitude of any levee overtopping are displayed. Utility tools include screen captures, document editing, and DSS file editing. The program also allows direct access to Web sites for current weather, real-time stage and discharge hydrographs, and forecasted stages.

Recent Publication: Lian, Y., M. Demissie, and K. Andrew. 2001. Management Strategies for Flood Protection in the Lower Illinois River, Phase II: Real-time Simulation of Flooding with UNET Model. Illinois State Water Survey Contract Report 2001-16.

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Floodplain Map Modernization

Principal Investigator: Sally McConkey

Project Staff: Kingsley Allan, Melony Barrett, Sam Chakravorty, Diana Davisson, Amanda Flegel, Crystal Grund, Matt Jefferson, Marni Law, Dave Lentzner, Jane Li, Brad McVay, Ryan Meekma, Sarah Milton, Ryan Parchmin, Paminder Parmar, Bob Rank, Aaron Thomas, Lisa Verhelst, Matt Williams, Tolga Yilmaz, and Zoe Zaloudek

Funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency through the IDNR Office of Water Resources, 2004-Present

ABSTRACT: Flooding is a predictable natural disaster, but since the flood of 1993, the State of Illinois has seen six successive state or federally declared flood disasters. Flood damage in the state is estimated to exceed $700 million dollars per year. Therefore, the state is committed to maintaining an aggressive floodplain management and flood mitigation program. Accurate delineation of flood hazard areas is fundamental to floodplain management and mitigation, yet many of Illinois' regulatory Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are 10 or more years out of date. Illinois has held improved floodplain mapping as a priority. The Office of Water Resources (OWR) and the State Water Survey (SWS) have worked together since the beginning of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide better flood information for communities and property owners. Supported by Congressional funding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has established a program for Flood Map Modernization and IDNR has entered into a Cooperating Technical Partnership agreement with FEMA to implement the updating of floodplain maps in Illinois. The Center for Watershed Science and IDNR Office of Water Resources, in their cooperative effort to accomplish flood map modernization in Illinois, have launched an aggressive plan to modernize floodplain mapping for the State of Illinois over a five-year period. The best available base maps and flood theme information will be incorporated in state-of-the-art geographic information system (GIS) geodatabase, digital map products that will facilitate updating and maintenance in the years to come.

Website: http://www.illinoisfloodmaps.org/

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Quantifying the Impacts of Land Cover Change and of Climate Change on Floods in Northeastern Illinois

Principal Investigator: Sally McConkey and Momcilo Markus

Project Staff: Lin Yang and Mohamad Hejazi

Funded by the NOAA Sea-Grant, 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: Major floods in North Eastern Illinois cause damages close to $40 million in an average year. This study will test a hypothesis that the floods actually increased in the recent decades. This supposed increase would be a consequence of the land cover changes in the region and also increased precipitation. It is commonly accepted that urbanization increases peak flows. In Northeastern Illinois, increases in high flows have been further exacerbated by an increase in the intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall events over the past century. Continuing changes in land cover and climate combine to aggravate the incidence of flooding. Management strategies adopted to reduce the impact of flooding rely on hydrologic calculation and projections of extreme flood magnitudes, such as the one-hundred year flood. Accurate predictions of flood magnitudes are fundamental to reducing flood damage. Various datasets have been collected including precipitation and runoff data for over 100 rainfall-runoff events in the region; GIS coverage and soil-data for selected watersheds; and urban development maps. As a pilot investigation, the floods observed at three sites during the summer of 1954 were used for initial model parameter calibration.

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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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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 Sediment Budget Update

Principal Investigator: N. Bhowmik

Funded by US Army Corps of Engineers until 11/30/2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois State Water Survey prepared Erosion and Sedimentation in the Illinois River Basin: Final Report (Contract Report 519) in 1992. An approximate sediment budget was developed based on data collected up to 1990 for that report. This project will include all sediment data collected since 1990 and update the sediment budget for the Illinois River basin. Determination of a sediment budget includes calculating and estimating sediment yields from all tributary streams that drain into the Illinois River and then comparing yields with sediment outflow from the Illinois River to the Mississippi River.

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Illinois River Watershed Hydrologic Model Development

Principal Investigator: M. Demissie

Funded by US Army Corps of Engineers until 9/30/2002

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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Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model

Principal Investigator: V. Knapp

Funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 6/30/1995 - 6/30/2004

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model (ILSAM) produces statistical estimates of flow quantity in Illinois streams, which are basic for various water resource uses, including: water quality analyses and regulations; assessing drought, instream flows, and availability for water supply; and stream ecosystem and restoration assessment. The ILSAM flow estimates are representative of long-term climatic conditions, with base periods covering the past 50 years or more, but also account for recent man-made modifications to the flow amount such as have been caused by reservoirs, water-supply withdrawals, diversions, and discharges from wastewater treatment plants. The hydrologic analysis for ILSAM has been completed for over half of Illinois, including the Fox, Kankakee, Kaskaskia, Little Wabash, Mackinaw, Rock, Sangamon, and Vermilion-Illinois River watersheds. Additional ILSAM applications for the Spoon and LaMoine River watersheds in western Illinois are currently being developed. A new online version of the ILSAM model is available for easy access to ILSAM streamflow estimates, and a more comprehensive version of ILSAM for use on Windows-based personal computers is also available on CD.

Recent Publications:
Mills, Evan P., and H. Vernon Knapp. 1991. The Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model: Version 3.2, User's Guide. Miscellaneous Publications 132. Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL, 46p.
 
Mills, Evan P., and H. Vernon Knapp. 1989. The Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model: Version 3.0, User's Guide. Miscellaneous Publications 116. Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL.

Web Site: Illinois Streamflow Assessment Model

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Initial Stream Stability Assessment of a Segment of Hickory Creek (Pilcher Park Dam to Washington Street); Joliet, Illinois

Principal Investigator: William P. White

Project Staff: John Beardsley, Long Duong, and Jon Rodsater

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Office of Water Resources, 2003-2004

ABSTRACT: This project was designed to provide a preliminary geomorphological assessment of the modern Hickory Creek fluvial system between Pilcher Park Dam and Washington Street in Joliet, Illinois and to provide background and guidance for addressing impacts from channel instability. The ISWS Center for Watershed Science was contracted by IDNR Office of Water Resources to assess rapidly advancing erosion by lateral channel migration and channel expansion. Erosion has already destroyed public infrastructure and caused abandonment of Hillcrest Road, formerly owned by IDOT. The ISWS was contracted to describe the nature of the modern Hickory Creek fluvial system, identify likely causes for channel instability, suggest future study needs and offer potential alternatives to mitigate impacts associated with channel instability.

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Installation of Newbury Riffles in the Cache River to Stabilize the Streambed and Enhance Habitat

Principal Investigator: William P. White

Project Staff: John Beardsley, Jon Rodsater

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Office of Resource Conservation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2003 - 2004

ABSTRACT: The Cache River Watershed in southern Illinois is unique and listed as a "Wetland of International Importance." Channelization of the Cache River along with other alterations to the natural hydrology, habitat fragmentation and excessive erosion and water pollution have been issues that local, state, and federal interests have been trying to collectively combat for years. The State Water Survey in the Office of Scientific Research and Analysis was asked to design and install structures to counteract the negative effects of channel down-cutting in an effort to save the precious wetlands. The ISWS/Center for Watershed Science modified designs of riffle/pool structures, sited the structures and supervised the construction of the riffle/pool structures in the Cache River. Further research on the effects is planned.

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Investigation of Metal and Organic Contaminant Distributions and Sedimentation Rates in Backwater Lakes along the Illinois River

Principal Investigator: J. Slowikowski

Funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1/1/2002 - 3/31/2003

ABSTRACT: Illinois River sediments contain an unknown distribution of metals and organic contaminants. Dredging is being proposed as a means to restore habitats and recreational opportunities to areas of the Illinois River. Sediments of areas to be dredged will require better characterization. This project intends to characterize these sediments, information that can be used to help make decisions regarding disposal of dredged materials. Using a Rossfelder vibrocoring system, at least ten cores will be collected from selected areas of Peoria Pool above Chillicothe, LaGrange Pool, and Alton Pool. Collected cores will be extruded and split, with one half used for 10 centimeter sub-samples for organic carbon, metal analysis and cesium-137 dating, and the other half for organic analytes and various agronomic and physical parameters. Work proposed will be a joint effort between the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois State Geological Survey.

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Low Frequency Estimation for Sugar Creek

Principal Investigators: V. Knapp and J. Slowikowski

Field and Data Processing: T. Snider

Funded by the City of Springfield, Illinois, 8/1/2001 - 11/30/2003

ABSTRACT: This study will estimate 7-day, 10-year low flows for Sugar Creek in Sangamon County in a reach located between Lake Springfield (Spaulding Dam) and the Springfield Metro Sanitary District treatment facility. Low flow discharge will be measured during dry periods over the next three years. A frequency analysis of these low flows will use a nearby long-term gaging as an index of low flow frequency.

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National Monitoring for Instream Habitat and Urban Fisheries in the Waukegan River

Principal Investigator: William P. White

Project Staff: John Beardsley, Luong Duong, Jon Rodsater, Dana Shackleford, Joy Telford

Funded by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency-Bureau of Water Pollution Control, 1994 - 2006

ABSTRACT: The Waukegan River project was designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of stream restoration techniques. The watershed is heavily urbanized and has been for many years, therefore, there is little control over stormwater discharge (quantity or quality) resulting in flashy runoff rates and heavy stormwater pollutant loads. Sediment was initially deemed to be the main pollutant. Water quality concerns also included cross-connections between sanitary and storm sewers, hydraulic undermining of the sanitary and stormsewers, potential sanitary sewer overflows during wet weather, severe streambank erosion, channel incision and artificial lining. In addition to physical channel instability, the urban fisheries and stream habitat were highly degraded; particularly at the onset of this project when the system exhibited impairments due to lack of water depth in pools, limited cobble substrates, and limited stream aeration.

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Developing of Risk Propagation Model for Estimating Ecological Responses of Streams to Anthropogenic Watershed Stresses and Stream Modifications: Database Structure and Development of Risk Model

Principal Investigator: Alena Bartosova

Funded by the Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 2004 - 2006

ABSTRACT: This project is a part of the EPA/NSF/USDA Grant No. R83-0885-010 awarded to Northeastern University (NEU) in Boston, Massachusetts. The overall goal of the research is developing a regionalized watershed scale model to determine aquatic ecosystem vulnerability to anthropogenic watershed changes, pollutant loads and stream modifications, that will assist watershed managers in their decision on methods to mitigate stream degradation and biological impairment, assess potential watershed impacts, and identify watershed restoration opportunities. The project focuses on medium to large tributaries of the Mississippi River in the Upper Midwest. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) assists with securing data for Upper Midwest rivers, provides guidance and consultation with structuring a comprehensive environmental database, and developing a model linking watershed stressors to indicators of ecological integrity (fish and macroinvertebrate IBIs). The project is carried out in a close cooperation with the NEU project team and their contractors from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). The research expands the concept developed by Bartosova (2002) for rivers in southeastern Wisconsin. The layered hierarchical model system is based on probabilistic risk propagation and linking the stresses with ecological endpoints, from physical attributes of the watershed and water body and pollutant loadings at the lowest level to measures of biotic integrity (IBI) at the highest level.

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Update of the 7-Day 10-Year Low Flow Maps for Illinois

Principal Investigator: V. Knapp

Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency until 2/28/2003

ABSTRACT: The 7-day, 10-year low flow in streams (Q7,10) is the lowest average flow for a consecutive seven-day period with an average recurrence interval of ten years. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) often uses Q7,10 estimates as the base flow condition in Illinois streams at which certain water quality standards apply. Allocation of waste loads also is dependent on the Q7,10 stream flow, which is the sum of natural base flows, water withdrawals, and effluent flows. The Illinois State Water Survey, with cooperative funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, has produced Q7,10 maps for Illinois since 1973. The Q7,10 estimates have been revised periodically, and this is appropriate whenever there is a shift in the statistical characteristics of low flows at gaging stations as a result of climatic variability or land use factors, or if water use conditions along the streams in the region change considerably. Low flow estimates contained in these maps are based on a combination of statistical analyses of low flows measured at U.S. Geological Survey streamgages throughout Illinois, regional regression equations that estimate low flows at ungaged sites based on information transferred from gaged sites, and water use conditions at the time of the evaluation. Low flow maps for the Sangamon, Rock, Kaskaskia, Little Wabash, and northeastern Illinois regions are being revised.

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