Update Given on Progress of the Yellow River, Kankakee River Basin Development Commission

The executive director of the Yellow River Basin and Kankakee River Basin Development Commission provided members of the public Thursday afternoon with an update on what the commission members are doing with its 40-year plan.

There are a lot of challenges facing the Yellow and Kankakee Rivers that deal with sediment erosion, sand collection and man-made barriers that include bridges throughout the 8 counties the rivers travel which involves Marshall County and Starke County. 

Executive Director Scott Pelath mentioned that since the commission formed in July, the members approved the removal of log jams in areas and the acquisition of property for water storage to address better water flow within the river basin area.  Those are just a couple of the goals set forth by the commission.  Other goals include bank stabilization, channel reconstruction, construction of levies, sediment removal and sand traps, tree removal, and construction of access roads.

To help pay for these improvements, Pelath says $3 million will be gathered a year by assessments on properties within the basin.

“A $1.00 assessment per agricultural acre, $7.00 per residential parcel or $3.50 per tax bill, $50 for commercial parcel, and then $360 for the big water contributors on utility and industrial parcels,” said Pelath.

The assessment will begin to take place in 2021, according to Pelath. 

Specific goals to be tackled within a 40-year plan will include Yellow River upstream and downstream improvements, Kankakee bank stabilization, selective and temporary berm maintenance, strategic berm removal and setback construction, bridge removal or replacement, update stormwater standards, flood response and resilience plans, and education and outreach management. 

For more information, visit https://kankakeeandyellowrivers.org/.  The public is welcome to attend the commission’s monthly meetings.