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Wetland and Floodplain Delineation / Mitigation

 

Several of the Villages we represent are adjacent to major waterways within the region. Wetland areas and identified floodway/floodplain areas require permitting for development. These waterways include the Des Plaines River, Flag Creek, the 71st Street Ditch, the Justice Ditch, the I & M Canal, and the Sanitary & Ship Canal. Several other mapped floodplain ravines and drainage areas exist within our area of responsibility. Many of our projects demand that we work closely with developers and design engineers to assure that current flood plain/wetland management procedures are incorporated into planning and design of proposed developments. Past projects have included permitting and procedures for floodway modifications along Flag Creek in Willow Springs, construction in the floodplain fringe of the Des Plaines River, development within the floodplain of the 71st Street Ditch in Justice, and many smaller subdivisions within flood fringe areas.

Among the larger projects were:

  • The Fairway Club, Phases I and II, Willow Springs
  • The Sante Fe container yard and UPS hub site, Willow Springs
  • The Indian Creek Subdivision, Willow Springs
  • The Loniello and Gooding Subdivisions, Justice
  • The Justice Flood Control Project, Justice
  • The Sante Fe area development, Willow Springs


In the mid 1990?s the Federal Emergency Management Agency undertook the monumental task of updating all Flood Insurance Studies and Maps and reformatting them into a countywide format. The studies and maps had originally been developed in the late 1970?s and 1980?s and had never been updated. The Village of Willow Springs had experienced a lot of growth over those same years, much of which was along the Flag Creek corridor. The development of all of the subdivisions along Flag Creek included floodway modification, on stream detention, compensatory storage and wetland preservation or mitigation. The permitting process for these projects was very involved but designs and proposed improvements successfully removed much of the land from the floodplain and the subdivisions and homes were constructed. However, when draft copies of the revised maps became available, it was noted that all of these subdivisions were again in the floodway/floodplain. Because of cut-off dates specified by FEMA, none of the previously approved Letters of Map Amendment or Revision had been included in the new mapping. To further complicate matters, a record reduction in home loan interest rates had ignited the real estate market. We received several calls a day from home owners and lenders questioning why homes that had been permitted and constructed out of the floodplain were now found within the floodplain and subject to flood insurance. Our firm spent many months thereafter working with FEMA and their East Coast consultant successfully revalidating previously granted LOMR?s and LOMA?s within the Village of Willow Springs and adjacent Cook County areas. All home sites were ultimately returned to their flood free status.

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