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Local Conservationist Make Earth Day everyday

Madhu Mayer – news@thetimesweekly.com | 4/24/2019, 8:10 p.m.
Most people think about recycling as the first step in protecting the environment. But for the Conservation Foundation, it is ...

Most people think about recycling as the first step in protecting the environment. But for the Conservation Foundation, it is the quality of streams and rivers the group believe will protect and give a good quality of life.

The Conservation Foundation, a non-profit land and river protection organization was founded in 1972. The more than 3,500 members and 500 volunteers helps the foundation carry out its mission to preserve and restore open space and natural lands, protect rivers and watersheds; and promote stewardship of the environment in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.

The Lower DuPage River Watershed Coalition was formed in 2012 to provide a local coordinated effort to address water resource concerns using a science-based approach to identify water quality stressors and develop ecologically and economically sound approaches to restore stream health.

The Conservation Foundation provides staffing services to the coalition and assists with overseeing the Bio-assessment Program, education, outreach and coordinating implementation efforts. The watershed is located mostly in Will County, although it includes portions of DuPage, Grundy and Kendall counties and encompasses the municipalities of Naperville, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Joliet, Minooka, Crest Hill, Rockdale, Shorewood and Channahon.

Jennifer Hammer, land conservation and watershed specialist for the Conservation Foundation, during Monday's committee of the whole workshop in Plainfield said leaves in fall and deicing roads in winter with salt all eventually affect the quality of life in the DuPage River.

"Healthy streams lead to healthy people and healthy immunities," said Hammer, suggesting that making simple changes in the ways people use water and manage their households will mean more and cleaner water for everyone and future generations. She said using rain barrels to conserve water and implementing earth-friendly landscaping are just some of the ways to improve quality of life.

She said the foundation has initiated many projects, including a partnership with the Forest Preserve District of Will County where Hammel Woods Dam in Shorewood was removed to improve fish passage and recreation access.