Protecting the Kishwaukee River Near Rockford, IL

By Mark Hopkins for SUST 210*

In the wake of an announcement regarding future industrial development near the Kishwaukee River, environmentalists have urged Winnebago County to take steps to protect the nearby river.  It appears as though the county government is listening.  As recounted in Brian Leaf’s 23 March 2013 article in the Rockford Register Star, “Green Infrastructure principles, like those pitched by a coalition of environmental groups will be a part of the county’s Unified Development Ordinance,” said County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen. While the future of the Kishwaukee River is dependent on approval of new zoning rules later this year, the outlook is hopeful.

The Kishwaukee River within the Blackhawk Spring Forest Preserve (photo: Dan Carter)

The Kishwaukee River within the Blackhawk Spring Forest Preserve
(photo: Dan Carter)

Currently more than 1,000 acres to the south of Rockford, located near highway 39, have been chosen as the site of a new industrial and warehouse district. For the health of the river, the most important aspect of this new construction will be the inclusion of permeable pavement, as well as other measures to keep building and parking lot runoff from entering the river. This is especially important to the area as the Kishwaukee and Kilbuck Creek are currently among the “highest-quality streams in Northern Illinois.”

Jerry Paulson, executive director of the Natural Land Institute, states that the NLI is not against development of the area. In fact, Paulson points out that if the new zoning rules pass it could be used as a recruiting tool for bringing new businesses eager to adopt sustainable development concepts.

Submitted 29 Mar 2013

* Each week during the Spring 2013 semester, two to three students in the SUST 210 Sustainable Future online/Schaumburg class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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