Mission Statement


Members of the Board of the Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd


The Indian Creek Watershed Project is Over 10 Years Old!

Since 2001 Nearly $4 Million in Projects Have Been Awarded in the Indian Creek Watershed.

    • Vernon Hills Seavey Creek Stream Restoration * $320,000

    • Sylvan Lake's Ravinia and Indian Creek Parks Projects * $274,000
    • Indian Creek Restoration in Lincolnshire * $156,000 
    • Longview Meadow Stream Repair in Long Grove * $92,000

    • Reed-Turner Woodland Hillside Stabilization * $20,000

    • Fremont Township Helps Stabilize an Eroded Creek

Mission Statement
The Indian Creek Watershed Project is comprised of watershed stakeholders dedicated to the preservation, protection, and improvement of the Indian Creek sub-watershed of the Des Plaines River. Our mission is to realize a long-term vision for a healthy watershed and an educated citizenry. Our goal is to educate while building partnerships to improve water quality, reduce flooding, and preserve and restore wetlands, woodlands, and other natural resources for future generations.

The Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd. is a non-profit organization formed in the summer of 2000 to promote water quality education and improve conditions in the Indian Creek watershed and beyond. Our effort is a regional one in the Chicago area within the Indian Creek watershed, a sub-basin of the Des Plaines River in northeastern Illinois. The Indian Creek Watershed Project (ICWP) was founded to help improve water quality and reduce flooding via stakeholder education and regional improvement projects. Our organization is unique in Lake County because it is sub-basin oriented and we are working across municipal and township boundaries. Our watershed encompasses parts of the villages of Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Lincolnshire, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, Buffalo Grove, Indian Creek, and drains from portions of the townships of Fremont, Ela, Vernon, and Libertyville.

The Indian Creek Watershed Project first began grassroots stakeholder (meaning involving those living or working in the watershed) planning for the Indian Creek subwatershed of the Des Plaines River in the spring of 1999. The volunteer planning was undertaken with the guidance of Conservation 2000's WI-IL Upper Des Plaines Ecosystem Partnership, the USDA/IDNR's Resource Planning and moved forward with technical support from watershed planners at the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC).

Public meetings were held regularly to inform stakeholders about water quality and area resources, and to begin grassroots planning and support for watershed improvements. Several watershed assessments have been completed because of the strong stakeholder support: a lakes assessment, a sub-basin wide stream inventory, Riverwatch data collection for five sites, and currently a watershed implementation plan. We have been the catalyst for watershed grants received from the Lake County Stormwater Management's Watershed Management Board (WMB) and the IEPA Clean Water Act 319 grants. By networking with area governmental bodies and agencies, opportunities and needs within the watershed are being identified.

Our project will benefit governmental planning within the sub-basin because we are working to improve water quality and other conditions in the watershed through public outreach. Our all-volunteer force is comprised of individuals with communication skills beyond boundaries, expertise in sharing information, and a dedication to promoting comprehensive watershed-wide stakeholder project opportunities. We will share results and summaries of what assessments are gathered so better water quality can be achieved. We hope ongoing efforts will in turn lead to improved conditions for the Des Plaines River and even have a ripple effect downstream.Recognition is building for the effectiveness of subwatershed efforts because they educate local stakeholders and planners while building support over multiple jurisdictions. There are more than 100 such efforts in the state of Illinois. Many believe that sub-basin planning efforts are the best way to help improve main stem river and lake conditions because of public driven intervention and education throughout the watershed. The hope is that other watershed efforts will begin and collectively result in improved conditions for major rivers, like the the Upper Des Plaines, the Illinois and so on downstream.

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Members of the Board of the Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd.

The Indian Creek Watershed Project Ltd. is a non-profit 503(c)3 organization which was formed in July of 2000 for the benefit of the Indian Creek watershed. This organization was formed to oversee the IEPA 319 grant received in April of 2001. The group received nonprofit status in January 2001. Financial reports for the Indian Creek Watershed Project Ltd. are available for inspection at the Lake County Clerk’s Office at 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, IL.

Ron Aidikonis
President of Depaul Supply Company Mundelein IL. a supplier of safety and silt fence. Ron has a professional background in the landscape industry with experience in native plants and erosion control. He resides in West Shore Park, a Diamond Lake community. Is an avid water skier and enjoys many hours on the lake with family and friends. He is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who assists the U.S. Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as public education, vessel safety checks, safety patrols, search and rescue, maritime security, and environmental protection. Ron believes that one should not only preserve but also improve the environment they enjoy.

Rosemary T. Aitken
Aitken Associates, 10600 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont, IL 60018
President of Aitken Associates, a financial planning and wealth management firm in business for over 24 years. Environment Committee chair of Countryside Lake from 1994 to present. Past president and current board member of the Illinois Lake Management Association. Board member of the Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd. Coordinator/Director of the Young Environmental Group of Countryside Lake. This is a summer workshop for children ages 8 to 13. The purpose of the workshop is to encourage the children with "hands-on activities" that help them to better understand our watershed. As a central resource the Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd. has the potential to bring together all stakeholders with a common interest in preserving and improving our watershed.

Greg Denny
Operations Manager for Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, responsible for day to day operations of one of the largest environmental sampling and analysis firms in the Midwest. Greg has experience in wastewater, stormwater, drinking water, groundwater, soil, and product analysis and testing. Currently overseeing the operations of the field staff and project managers. Greg is Vice president of the Oak Terrace Homeowners association, Treasurer and founding member of the Illinois Association of Environmental Laboratories, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland MuskyHunters. Greg is a member of the Illinois Lakes Management Association, the National Groundwater Association Greg also conducts sampling on Diamond Lake for the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, and stream sampling for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Ecowatch program.

Bill Grinnell
Fremont Township Highway Commissioner, (22376 W. Erhart Road, Mundelein, IL 60060 ) and Indian Creek Watershed Project, Ltd. Treasurer. Bill has been the Fremont Township Highway Commissioner for the past 13 years. He’s worked with other governmental agencies and several Homeowner's associations to obtain grants for implementing and improving drainage and erosion control measures on various projects within Fremont Township. He is also: Treasurer for the Lake County Highway Commissioners Association, Member of the Northern Illinois Highway Commissioners and Illinois Highway Commissioners Associations. He has over 20 year's involvement in agriculture and agricultural related practices. His record shows he is dedicated to networking and educational efforts within the township and region to promote better understanding of urban resource concerns, watershed drainage issues and effective road systems.

Donna Smith
Donna Smith actually lives in the northern boundary of the Buffalo Creek Watershed but she has joined our board to get more informed because she is concerned about watershed planning, water quality and world water issues in general. Her professional background is in finance and sales but currently she is an active member of many community organizations, Long Grove-Kildeer Garden Club, Friends of Ryerson Woods, Hands of Hope (a Barrington organization that helps to empower African women and children.). She is an environmental advocate as a member of the Upper Des Plaines Ecosystem Partnership and has been a regular prescribed burn volunteer for Reed-Turner Woodland. She has been restoring her own woodland and pond acreage for the past six years encouraging natives and fighting invasive species. She and her husband Craig are beekeepers and enjoy the fruits of their labor as Donna is also a gourmet cook.

Jeri Swanson
Jeri has been Vice-President of her family owned business for 25 years. Swanson's Spas and Saunas (1077 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047) specializes in custom residential spa and sauna installations, maintenance and repairs. Jeri has been a resident of Sylvan Lake for 15 years and is current President of the Sylvan Lake Improvement Association and environmental chairperson for their board. It is Sylvan Lake's goal to achieve better water quality through best management practices in their woodland areas, shorelines, and the lake itself by controlling non-native invasive plant species, aquatic weeds and non-native fish populations.
An IEPA 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant was awarded to Sylvan Lake in 2001 to restore a streambank in Maple Park leading into Sylvan Lake from a detention pond at Countryside Lake. The grant was completed in partnership with the Fremont Township Highway Department and the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission.

Tori Trauscht
Tori is president of the ICWP and is currently engaged in promoting public awareness and support for the recently completed Indian Creek Watershed Plan. The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission developed the plan and it is due to be adopted by the Lake County Board in 2008. As administrator of over twelve grants to restore natural areas in the Indian Creek watershed, her grant projects have included restoring the sedge meadow and tributaries at Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve, and completing several other projects to improve stream corridors, lakeshores and wetland complexes along Indian Creek. . She lives in Mundelein near Diamond Lake.

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Local Entities Are Actively Working to Help Restore Riparian Areas 
look at all the projects currently underway here...

Vernon Hills to Stabilize Portions of the Seavey and Harvey Lake

Vernon Hills will be restoring Seavey Ditch from the Arbortheater to Route 45 near Prairie Road. The Seavey, also known as Hawthorn Drain is the main stream that runs from Butterfield Road past Lake Charles and Big and Little Bear Lakes all the way to Route 45 where it joins with Indian Creek by the Lincolnshire downtown area. This project will be funded by a State and Tribal Assistance grant (STAG) with oversight from the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. Vernon Hills is also actively working to improve Harvey Lake. The Army Corps of Engineers has committed $260,000 to mitigate shoreline erosion, remove invasive plants, reintroduce beneficial native plants, and enhance water quality. Village staff are meeting with area residents to help educate during these projects. Volunteers are welcome to help on workdays.

Sylvan Lake is Improving Water Quality while restoring Ravinia park

Sylvan Lake homeowners are focused on helping their lake and community. From Carp-O-Ramas (fishing competitions) to coordinated weekends to control buckthorn and other invasive species, this community has mobilized to improve their lake and the resources around it.

By the end of 2004, Sylvan had completed four grant projects totalling more than $185,000 in improvements for their lake and waterways. Erosion has considerably lessened in problem areas around Sylvan Lake because of these efforts.

In 2006, a $275,000 IEPA 319 grant was awarded to Sylvan Lake Homeowners and Fremont Township for the Ravinia and Indian Creek Parks Project to restore streambank, wetland, and savanna areas that border a stream inflow area of Sylvan Lake. Other projects have been paid for by the community. A manhole and tile system was upgraded to control sediment, and deep rooted native plants were added in many areas. 

Between these projects, avid community education, and hundreds of volunteer hours from Sylvan Lake residents, stormwater and lake quality are improving here.

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Village of Lincolnshire Restores Indian Creek:

The Village of Lincolnshire received funding under the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Grant to restore of a portion of Indian Creek located in the Village of Lincolnshire’s downtown area. Grant funding and matching monies from the village will help with bank stabilization, reforestation of areas that have been invaded by exotics (buckthorn and garlic mustard), and native plantings in the creek channel and to aid detention areas. Educating the public on the watershed and the importance of Best Management Practices during the downtown redevelopment was also a goal of the grant. The project is due to begin after all plans are finalized and permitted.

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Longview Meadow Stream Repair in Long Grove:

The Long Grove Park District was awarded a State and Tribal Assistance grant (STAG) from the USEPA in December 2004 to restore a stream corridor and buffer along the south branch of Indian Creek near Route 22 and Route 83. Contractors and volunteers during the project have helped remove huge log jams and invasive trees to lighten the canopy so that many native trees and shrubs could be planted to restabilize the stream corridor and upgrade the habitat for wildlife. Several volunteer groups have helped during the project including Cub Scout Pack 64, Eagle Scouts from Troop 79, students from Quest Academy, and Mundelein High School volunteers.

In 2006 the park district was fortunate to have 30 volunteer staff from Shedd Aquarium’s CAM group come out and help do tree planting and clearing in October.  This occurred thanks to a lead from the Chicago Wilderness staff that connected ICWP with the Shedd Conservation Action Month group (CAM).  The Shedd staff work to make a difference in Chicagoland communities each year. “We like to get our feet wet, outside too, on projects like this where we can also learn restoration techniques from a variety of perspectives,” said Hilary Corcoran, Shedd Animal Healthcare Technologist and CAM coordinator. Between the Lake Co. Stormwater Management Commission, Chicago Wilderness, Shedd staff, scouts, high schools and the Long Grove Park District, the education from this project will be realized over many watersheds.

Reed-Turner Woodland Hillside Stabilization with Rain Gardens

In 2005, the Indian Creek Watershed Project was awarded $20,000 from the Conservation Fund’s Northeastern Illinois Wetlands Conservation Account (NEIWCA) to help provide erosion protection for the gullies upstream from the recently restored sedge meadow at Reed-Turner Woodland.

The sedge meadow restoration effort has been a very important project to the Indian Creek Watershed Project because it helped greatly to improve the wonderful Reed-Turner Woodland Illinois Nature Preserve, one of the gems of our watershed.

This project involved clearing weedy trees, herbiciding exotics, burning brush and debris, building a rock path, seeding in uphill drainage areas, and the construction of two rain gardens to help slow down the water in this flood prone section of Reed-Turner Woodland. Shallow rain gardens (pictured here) were dug in winter and then planted in the Spring so that more water could infiltrate into the soil via the deep rooted planted vegetation. Education of area neighbors about the importance of rain gardens for erosion and flood control is also part of the project as well as a bird and butterfly inventory.  We invite you to come see how the rain gardens work at Reed-Turner; then you’ll want to build one in your yard!

Fremont Township Helps Stabilize an Eroded Creek in Unincorporated Mundelein

In unincorporated Fremont Township a creek downstream from recent development in the West Shoreland neighborhood has been gradually eroding from high water volumes, upsteam development, and obstructions in the stream corridor. Fremont Township Highway Department received Stormwater Management Watershed Management Board funding to stabilize the stream walls with rock, erosion control fabric and native plants. Applied Ecological Services worked this past summer to remove low quality trees along the stream. This will promote better infiltration and allow for stabilization.
Several neighborhood meetings were required to educate residents about the project purpose and the process of the work. 



(see SMC’s website for a full list of all Indian Creek projects, www.co.lake.il.us/smc/planning/indiancreek

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