For most of Lake County, stream and riparian area maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner on whose land a stream or lake is located.
Stream channel and riparian area management consists primarily of two different but complementary approaches: establishment of stream buffers and implementation of a regular stream maintenance program.
A buffer is an area of native vegetated land left open adjacent to waters to reduce adverse impacts from adjacent land areas. Stream maintenance includes an ongoing program to remove blockages caused by accumulated sediment, fallen trees and overgrown weedy, non-native vegetation or debris.
Stream maintenance and routine clearing of natural and man-made debris from streams is a cost effective way to prevent flooding. Maintenance may involve using best management practices (BMPs) to prevent stream banks from eroding, thereby reducing sediment and associated pollutants from collecting in the downstream channel or lake. Stream maintenance activities normally do not alter the shape of the channel.
Maintaining buffers around or along waterways can reduce some of the water quality and aquatic habitat degradation effects associated with increased imperviousness and runoff. Buffers filter sediment and pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reaches the waterway; they also stabilize stream banks with deep-rooted plants that hold the soil in place preventing erosion; and provide wildlife habitat and aesthetic benefits.
Buffer: Hendrick Lake, Unincorporated Lake County, IL