Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes

Focused on improving water quality

in the lakes

Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes’ mission is to maintain the sanctity of Lake Catherine and Channel Lakes, to continuously improve and maintain the lakes’ ecosystem, and to establish and implement value-enriched programs to enhance the overall quality of lake life.

Our goal is to return Lake Catherine and Channel Lake to pristine condition by eradicating invasive plant species, reducing pollution and increasing awareness about how to care for the lakes. We are doing this through the implementation of a detailed Lake Management Plan.

Please join the cause by getting involved. Many hands make light work.


About Us

Lake Catherine and Channel Lake are the northern most lakes on the Chain O’Lakes in Northern Illinois. These two interconnected lakes are part of the Fox River Watershed, serving as a vital drinking water supply for many communities in Illinois, providing habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals and supplying a beautiful place to enjoy lake life.

Over the past many years, these lakes have suffered from a lack of care. Storm water run-off and run-off from farmlands around the area have created a heightened level of phosphorus and other nutrients in the lake contributing to wide-spread algae blooms in the spring. In addition, invasive species of plants, including Eurasian Water Milfoil, have all but choked out many native species and affected vital fish habitat.

The Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes aims to improve conditions in the lakes for the betterment of lake like – for humans, plants and animals.

Open Letter to Supporters

Dear Neighbor,

When my husband and I purchased our house on Lake Catherine and Channel Lakes, we were astounded by the beauty and serenity of the environment. Like many of you, we make great use of the waterfront at every chance, and we really covet our time in the natural landscape. Over the years, however, there has been a noticeable degradation in the water quality of the lakes and, at times, it is anything but beautiful and serene.

Storm water run-off, run-off from area farmlands and decaying lake plants have created a heightened level of phosphorus and other nutrients, often contributing to wide-spread algae blooms in the spring. Invasive species of plants, including Eurasian Water Milfoil, have overtaken many native species, increased sediment build-up, and affected vital fish habitat. While the Fox Waterway Agency (FWA) is charged with maintaining the Chain of Lakes, funding has not kept pace with the high demands across the lakes and as a result, lake conditions have continued to decline. This is where The Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes comes in.

Founded in 2016 by a group of concerned neighbors, Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to maintain the sanctity of Lake Catherine and Channel Lakes, to continuously improve and maintain the lakes’ ecosystem, and to establish and implement value-enriched programs to enhance the overall quality of lake life. As a nonprofit, we can help coordinate efforts among neighbors and seek funding from like-minded foundations and institutions. But we also need support from our community to make sure the lakes remain protected.

Our goal is to return Lake Catherine and Channel Lake to pristine condition by eradicating invasive plant species, reducing pollution, and increasing awareness about how to care for the lakes. We’ve already commissioned a detailed study and lake management plan, which can be found here, so we’re armed with facts about the precise issues affecting the lake environment and expert-recommended remedies. Our plan has been reviewed by the EPA, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the Fox Waterway Agency. With funding and community participation, we will implement the plan over many years. This is where you come in.

Our goal in the near-term is to reduce invasive plant species in an environmentally friendly way by buying and operating a harvester. This machine will enable us to pull plants out of the water, like mowing the grass, which will reduce weeds immediately and reduce the amount of decaying plant matter that contributes to algae blooms on the lakes.

The cost for a harvester and ongoing operations is $80,000 – an achievable goal if every household invests in this effort. With your help, we can begin work in Spring 2019, so that we can all enjoy a cleaner lake all summer long.

We have already applied for permitting to conduct weed harvesting, and we have expended $6,000 for an environmental professional to conduct an Incidental Take Assessment (ITA) to ensure that the activity will not harm our lakes in any way.

Together we can return the lakes to their pristine condition and protect them for generations to come.

Please consider making a gift to help us purchase a harvester and protect the ecological systems we hold dear. With your support, our goal is very much within reach. If every household contributes just $342, we will raise enough funds to purchase the harvester and set the clean-up plan in motion.

Lake Catherine and Channel Lake are centerpieces of our community. We’re proud to lead the effort in improving the health and function of the lakes, and enhancing the quality of life not only for those using the lakes, but for everyone who is touched by the economic benefits of these resources. Many of our neighbors have already contributed to this effort with donations, board leadership, grant writing and community outreach.

We hope you’ll join our team. Please donate here.

Yours truly,
Amy Littleton
President, Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes

Research

The Illinois EPA is conducting a TMDL Study in the Upper Fox/Chain O’Lakes, including Lake Catherine and Channel Lake. TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards and support designated uses.

Upper Fox River – Chain O’ Lakes Watershed Stage 3 TMDL can be found here.

The Fox Chain O’Lakes Summary report that was based on the 2014 water quality data can be found here. Lake Catherine and Channel Lake data is included.

Algae blooms can be harmful. For information on Blue-Green Algae and harmful algae blooms, click here.

In the News

Stormwater concerns still surround Antioch development proposal
January 12, 2017, by Angelica LaVito, Lake County News Sun

Years of sediment threaten Chain O’Lakes, Fox River
August 25, 2016, by Angelica LaVito, Lake County News Sun

Lack of funding, old equipment slow sediment removal from Chain O’Lakes, Fox River
August 26, 2016, by Angelica LaVito, Lake County News Sun

Algae blooms create foul odor along Fox River
August 28, 2016, by Angelica LaVito, Lake County News Sun