Why should we care about
the Flint Creek Watershed?
Flint Creek watershed has developed around its natural resources. The watershed’s two natural glacial lakes anchor the Lake Zurich and Honey Lake communities. Water as a resource is so valued that fifteen additional lakes were created by damming Flint Creek or excavating nearby wetlands. Most of its pre-settlement wetlands remain with high quality wetlands protected by forest preserves or a local conservation group. Land use is 62% developed and 38% open, but counting partially open parcels (development covering only a portion of parcels between 1 and 10 acres in size) reveals that 73% of the watershed is open or partially open. Threatened and endangered species frequent the area’s waterways, prairies and savannas; Baker’s Lake has one of the few heron rookeries in the Chicago region. Residents value the country-like atmosphere produced by open space.
- Land use 62% developed, 3% agriculture, 35% open space
- Country-like atmosphere with 73% open or partially open parcels
- 76% of pre-settlement wetlands remain
- 10 high-value Advance Identification (ADID) wetlands; 4 Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) sites at 4 forest preserves: Baker’s Lake Younghusband Prairie Preserve (also an Illinois Nature Preserve), Crabtree Nature Center, Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve, and Grassy Lake Forest Preserve; 4 Citizens for Conservation preserves: Flint Creek Savanna, Grigsby Prairie, Hawley Lake, and Steyermark; and 2 village preserves: Baker’s Lake Savanna and Freier Farm
- 25 threatened and endangered species
However, the open space is in poor condition which affects water resources. The land is transected by impervious surfaces – rooftops and roads – and manicured lawns that rapidly transport pollutant-laden rainwater to the lakes and streams. Flint Creek floods, then dries up. Future development will replace 26% of the open space, mainly in the western half of the watershed, while redevelopment produces larger homes and buildings on existing lots. Groundwater recharge areas are not protected.
- Loss of open space
- Development in recharge areas
- Increased stormwater runoff and flooding
- Loss of infiltrating native vegetation
- Flashy hydrology causes Flint Creek to rise higher and faster, then rapidly fall below historic levels
- Increased pollution
- Fertilizers, septic systems, road salt, grease and oil
- Degradation of natural areas
- Invasive species, absence of burns
- Fragmentation of habitat and loss of greenways
- Shoreline and stream bank erosion