Written by Douglas Edwin
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:00
Photo by Lori Martin
Every person, in every country needs clean water, and it’s this need that can help unite countries around the world.
Governor Quinn recently announced the launch of a Illinois Sister Rivers and Lakes website that is meant to help share practices being used in Illinois and around the world to help improve water and waterways worldwide.
“The Illinois Sisters Rivers/Lakes Initiative celebrates the spirit of ‘water cooperation,’ as we share our successes with and learn from our partners across the world,” said Governor Quinn in a press release announcing the new website. “Each nation has unique challenges, but we have common priorities: clean and healthy waterways, improved commercial and recreational opportunities, and we all are working hard to leave a better watershed than we inherited.”
Illinois has teamed up with eight other rivers and lakes from 7 different countries, including Brazil, China, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Poland, and South Korea in an effort to share creative solutions that are common to the different water ways.
The website outlines the different initiatives that the state of Illinois has used to deal with local waterway issues that are also common to our sister rivers and lakes. By showing the success of the initiatives taken by the state, the website hopes to help other cities or countries looking for solutions to their waterway problems.
Some of the innovative initiatives started by the state of Illinois to help improve our rivers, lakes, and water include the Mud-to-Parks Program, the Dam Removal Initiative, and the Clean Water Initiative.
One of the big problems in rivers in Illinois and around the world is an excess of sedimentation build up on the bottom of rivers, which reduces navigability of barge traffic, hinders recreational boating, and destroys habitat. The Mud-to-Parks Program is meant to help combat the excess build up by taking the rich sediment from the bottom of rivers and shipping it on barges to places where it is spread over landfills to create parks.
As technology advances and time passes some old dams that at one point served an important purpose have become obsolete and now take more money to maintain, than to remove. The Dam Removal Initiative is a program that has set out to remove 12 of these obsolete dams. The old dams blocking up parts of rivers are hazardous to paddlers and swimmers, increase flooding upstream and sediment downstream, and destroy the food supply and habitat of fish and water mammals according to the website.
The initiative has already removed three of the dams and the results have been very positive. The natural flow of the rivers have been restored, there has been an increase in fish passage, and recreational safety.
Just as some dams are rapidly aging and becoming obsolete, some of Illinois’s pipes and water treatment facilities are as well. The Clean Water Initiative, launched in October 2012 by Governor Quinn, is meant to help overhaul the aging water treatment facilities and pipes. The one billion dollar program’s goal is to help improve public health and conserve resources, while also creating 28,500 jobs for plumbers, ironworkers, pipe fitters, carpenters, electricians, and more according to the website.
In addition to helping share information with sister rivers and lakes the website also encourages tourism both to Illinois and to the sister waterways.
“I urge Illinoisans who are planning a trip abroad to visit our Sister Waterways.” said Governor Quinn. “Fish for salmon in Ireland’s Lee River. Windsurf on Mexico’s Lake Pátzcuaro. Pedal along Seoul’s Han River or Israel’s “Jesus Trail”. See Shanghai’s skyline from a boat in the Huangpu River. Go kayaking on Poland’s Vistula River. See Brazil from a Capibaribe River ferry.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 14:12