Leaders in Normal said they hope new stream bank management practices approved by the council will encourage other entities to adopt the same methods to prevent erosion and create buffer zones of natural foliage.
The Normal Town Council voted Monday to hire a contractor, Monee-based Cardno Inc., to manage creek areas.
Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich said Illinois State University does some best practices, but the Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District (BNWRD) has a different take.
"BNWRD, we have had some discussion with them and they prefer to mow their creek banks for various reasons. I think so they can see things happening because most of their main sewers are in the creek areas," said Aldrich.
Aldrich said BNWRD is concerned about erosion. He said conservation buffer practices will actually lead to more native plants with deeper root structures that can filter water and prevent erosion during times of high water.
He said mowing promotes growth of turf grass which can be easily eroded during floods.
"It does because there is less root structure. So, I think our efforts will be having good frank open discussions with BNWRD to see if there is a meeting of the minds or how about we try this thing," said Aldrich.
But Aldrich said BNWRD is also a good partner in managing creeks. He says ISU and Bloomington already use some conservation practices on their stream banks.
The contract could cost up to $100,000 per year. But Aldrich said that may actually be a savings if the new plantings require less ongoing maintenance, as hoped.
The Town Council has also named Todd Bugg to the Historic Preservation Commission, Julie Hile to the Connect Transit Board, and Ben Harmon (no relation to former Mayor Paul Harmon) to the Children's Discovery Museum Foundation Board.
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