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It's all in the Water
(Things you can do to help in Illinois)
We are not responsible for errors or omissions.
When boating, regardless of water depth, wear a PFD!

Whether you enjoy picnicking at the side of a small creek, wading and casting in your local river, or paddling through rocky rapids, the quality of the water does make a difference.

It's easy to think that you can't do anything to improve water quality, but you can help. There are several volunteer programs in Illinois. One is called Riverwatch, another (that I participate in) is the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP).

As a VLMP volunteer, you would go to the lake you signed up to monitor at least twice a month. You provide your own boat, PFDs, anchor and pen, the VLMP provides the rest. You make your way to the monitoring points in your lake (map of the lake I monitor) and take readings using a Secchi Disk. Note each of the readings on the provided form. Once you have stopped at each individual monitoring site, complete the rest of the form, place it in one of the provided post-paid envelopes and drop it in the mail.

It's quick, easy, and helps keep our government agencies aware of the current conditions in our local waterways. The lake that I do takes from 2 to 3 hours each day we monitor, twice monthly.

What does a Secchi Disk look like?

[Disk Pic 1] [Disk Pic 2]

(Secchi Disk about 2 inches under and about 6 inches underwater at Busse Lake)

What does the color chart look like?

[Color Chart]

(Note: Colors on this sample do not match exactly due to 256 color limits)

What do you do?

The Secchi Disk, clothes pin and color chart are supplied for you. (you supply your boat, anchor, time, and labor).

My friend Sprockethead and I do Busse Lake. It takes us about 2 to 3 hours total time to get around the lake. Busse is unlike most lakes in the area in that it has dams that have to be portaged to get from point to point. It's actually about 5 minutes per station and the rest of the time is spent paddling or portaging. The above pictures were taken out on Busse Lake.

P.S. If your out on Busse Lake and see a big guy wearing a white pith helmet leaning over one side of a red kayak , while a skinny guy in a tan fishing hat leans the other way (trying to keep us dry), make sure you say hi to us ...

The VLMP is run regionally by various government agencies. Heres the sign up form in PDF format so that you can download and print to sign up. (Sorry, we couldn't scan the postage paid envelope). In Northeastern Illinois the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission consolidates the reports for the Illinois Enviromental Protection Agency. If your interested in volunteering, email Holly Hudson (or call Holly at 312/454-0400) and she will help you get started.

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