|History & Background
|Northeastern Illinois has the distinction of
being one of the fastest growing metropolitan
areas of the nation. The Northeastern Illinois
Planning Commission forecasts suggest a rate and
pattern of growth markedly different from what
was experienced between 1970 and 1990. During
those two decades, the population of
northeastern Illinois increased by only 4
percent, from 6.98 million to 7.26 million
While overall growth was moderate, its impacts
were substantial because of the way the growth
was distributed. The population of the growing
suburban areas increased by 24 percent or almost
1 million, while the City of Chicago and
eighty-nine suburban cities and villages lost a
total of about 770 thousand people.
These demographic changes were accompanied by
substantial changes in the use of land. Between
1970 and 1990, while the region's population
increased by only 4 percent and employment grew
by 21 percent, the amount of land in urban uses
increased by over 33 percent. Over 450 square
miles of agricultural and vacant land were
converted to residential and employment uses,
streets, and public buildings.
This high rate of land consumption reflected the
generally larger lot sizes which have
characterized residential, commercial, and
industrial development and redevelopment
throughout the region. It also reflected a high
rate (20 percent) of household formation
relative to population increase as household
sizes declined. Still, the overall pattern was
one of a few more people occupying a lot more
land. The result of this population growth and
farmland conversion has led to significant
sedimentation problems in downstream waterways.
|Development of the Program
|Since 1986 the Corps has administered a
permit program under Section 404 of the Clean
Water Act which regulates various activities in
waters of the United States, including wetlands.
As a condition of permit issuance, the Corps
requires appropriate soil erosion and sediment
control measures to be implemented and
maintained until the construction site is
vegetated and stabilized. The Corps reviews the
impacts of a proposed project with the
supposition that soil erosion from the site will
For a number of years E & S plans were submitted
to the Corps but because the Corps lacked
sufficient staff with urban erosion problems
very few plans were fully implemented, if at
all. When considering the geographical location
of the Corps office (downtown Chicago) it makes
regulation and enforcement a difficult task in
the six county metropolitan area. The Corps
contacted staff from the McHenry County Soil and
Water Conservation District (MCSWCD) and USDA
Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)
to ask if each agency could be of any assistance
in both the review of E & S plans and inspection
of the implemented plans.
The idea of a cooperative agreement was created
as a means of clarifying each agencies
responsibilities. The Interagency Coordination
Agreement (ICA) was officially signed into
action by all three agencies on January 7th
1997. To date cooperative agreements exist in
northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage,
Kane Lake, and Will. The ICA that was eventually
drafted created the framework and spelled out
the details and responsibilities of each agency.
For the past 50 years the NRCS and SWCD’s have
had very similar agreements called Memorandums
of Understanding (MOUs).
|Details of the Program
Interagency Coordination Agreement (ICA) states
the Corps will:
Require the permittee to consult with the
SWCD on E & S control plans.
Request the SWCD review plans for
adequacy and effectiveness.
Request the SWCD to attend a
Request the SWCD review and
comment on inspection reports and proposed
Request the SWCD to conduct
The SWCD will:
Utilize appropriate technical
(Illinois Urban Manual, NRCS Tech Guide).
Conduct onsite investigations
prior to the issuance of permit.
Review E & S control plans.
Attend a pre-construction meeting.
Conduct onsite inspections of the
active construction site for compliance.
Notify the permittee of plan
deficiencies. Consult with developers and
contractors concerning design, installation and
maintenance of E & S practices.
The NRCS will:
Assist the Corps and the SWCD in
carrying out the provisions of the M.O.U.
Provide planning and technical
Provide technical reference
The following Illinois
SWCD's have signed the M.O.U.
Jan. 7, 1997
North Cook County- May 8, 1997
Will /So. Cook County- June 10, 1997
Kane/DuPage County- June 12, 1997
developers work in multiple counties the SWCD’s
found it necessary to have some consistencies in
the forms used, fee schedules, plan review turn
around time, and other aspects of the program.