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Open house to explore flood survey results for American Bottom Watershed area

An open house will be held to inform the public about the results of the American Bottom Community Flood Survey and the American Bottom Watershed Plan on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Pontoon Beach Village Hall.

heartlandsconservancylogoThe Flood Survey was sent out to 2,100 addresses in the American Bottom watershed in Madison County – the low-lying area south of the Cahokia Diversion Channel and west of the bluffs – in early 2017. It was also promoted online. More than 380 responses were received from addresses in the watershed.

Respondents indicated frequent occurrences of flooding in multiple locations, causing damage to homes and backyards and closing roads. Forty-five percent of respondents said they had been flooded in the last 10 years.

“What is perhaps most interesting is the amount of flooding that is happening outside of the floodplains identified by FEMA,” said Janet Buchanan, project manager at HeartLands Conservancy. “People are reporting that the vast majority of flood events are happening in other places, often urban areas, and we had no data on that before now.”

The full Flood Survey Report can be downloaded from HeartLands Conservancy’s website at the following link: . The results shared in the report include reported frequency of flooding, costs of flooding, other impacts, and whether the flooding was reported.

The survey was created as part of the watershed planning process for the American Bottom watershed, which is being undertaken by Madison County, HeartLands Conservancy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The watershed plan is a way to strategically address water quality, flooding, and stormwater issues in the Bottoms. The end result will be a document that presents strategies and marshals funding to address these issues.

Madison County Stormwater Coordinator Steve Brendel notes that this open house will be useful for residents, business owners, municipalities, townships, and farmers.

“Watershed plans can be used to leverage funding for many different types of projects,” Brendel said. “With input from attendees at the Open House, we can direct attention to infrastructure projects and land management issues that matter to people.”

The event is open to the public and is intended to attract people in Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Mitchell, Madison, Venice, and Fairmont City. Representatives from HeartLands Conservancy and Madison County will be on hand to gather input from attendees about flooding and stormwater issues, and to answer questions.

The planning team will use input from residents, communities, and others to create a list of issues to be addressed in the watershed plan with a set of recommendations for the area.

For more information about the American Bottom Flood Survey or Watershed Plan, contact Janet Buchanan at HeartLands Conservancy at (618) 566-4451 ext. 25 or email .

For updates on this project and information about other HeartLands Conservancy activities, visit

HeartLands Conservancy, a nonprofit serving Southwestern Illinois since 1989, is devoted to the conservation of land, the preservation of green spaces, sustainable and environmentally friendly community planning, and engaging neighbors with nature. Visit: for more information.

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