What Have We Been Up To?


Lake Management Plan

Friends of Catherine and Channel Lake create a Lake Management Plan to guide all efforts. The Lake Management Plan, which is approved by the DNR, EPA and Fox Waterway Agency, is meant to guide and coordinate efforts on the lakes to achieve a common goal of improved water quality and aesthetics.

Regulatory Approvals Status: N/A

Implementation Status: ILM Environments, an environmental consulting firm based in Waukegan, IL, was hired to prepare the Lake Management Plan, which was completed in Nov. of 2017.

Spent to Date: $10,000 for Lake Management Plan design and production
Total Expected Cost: $10,000

Final Report Status: A copy of the final Lake Management Plan can be found here.

Water Quality Monitoring

Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes, in partnership with volunteers across both lakes, has led monthly testing of Lake Catherine and Channel Lake for: water transparency (using Secchi Disk); water color; Dissolved Oxygen (DO), temperature, and pH. The group is also monitoring Lake Catherine for phosphorous (P) and nitrogen (N) concentration.

Regulatory Approvals Status: N/A

Implementation Status: Monthly testing is ongoing during the spring and summer months

Spent to Date: $500 (for lab analysis of P and N)
Total Expected Cost: $500 / year (for lab analysis of P and N)

Final Report Status: Final 2019 summary report expected in Q4 2019.

Sludge Reducing Bacteria Pilot Study – South End of Channel Lake

IN 2019, Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes commissioned a 6-acre pilot study on using sludge reducing bacteria (i.e., beneficial natural lake bacteria) to reduce the depth of organic-rich sediments and to determine if this bio-enzyme can lower the concentration of available phosphorous within the sediments layers and water column of the lake. Click for more information on the Sludge Reducing Pilot Study.

Regulatory Approvals Status:

Implementation Status: Pilot study began on May 6th, 2019 and will continue through September 2019.

May 6th: Pre-treatment baseline sampling for:

(1) Muck depths across in a grid across the pilot area using a “Sludge Judge” sludge sampler, and

(2) laboratory analysis of 4 samples for TVS (total volatile solids).

Total Volatile Solids Lab Report 5/14/19

Sludge reducing bacteria treatments conducted on:

  • 6/7/19 – 5 lbs.
  • 6/14/19 – 7 lbs.
  • 6/23/19 – 7 lbs.
  • 6/28/19 – 7 lbs.
  • 7/7/14 – 9 lbs.
  • 7/14/14 – 9 lbs.

*no treatments between 7/14 and 8/31 per Letter of Permission

Spent to Date: $5,700 for sludge reducing bacteria and lab work
Total Expected Cost: $6,000

Final Report Status:

  • Final treatment expected 9/1.
  • Post-treatment quantitative testing expected late Sept.
  • Final summary report expected in Q4 2019.


Aquatic Weed Harvesting

The Lake Management Plan identifies high levels of invasive plant species in both lakes. Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes is seeking to conduct targeted (limited) harvesting of invasive aquatic weeds as a shorter term mechanism designed to: (1) remove the invasive weeds immediately (as a preferred alternative to chemical treatments), and (2) simultaneously remove surplus phosphorous (P) from the water which has the potential for longer term benefits to overall water quality.

Regulatory Approvals Status:
The organization filed a required permit application with IL DNR. IL DNR approval pending while lake bottom ownership issues are resolved and other parameters are met.

IL DNR required completion of an Incidental Take Assessment (ITA) and Conservation Plan in order to obtain approval. An Incidental Take Assessment is designed to ensure that planned harvesting activities do not unduly harm endangered or threatened species in the lakes.

Implementation Status: 
Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes hired Hey & Associates, Inc., a professional environmental engineering firm based in Volo, IL, to conduct the ITA study / conservation plan and complete the permit application. The plan and permit was completed and submitted to the IL DNR in June of 2019.

Spent to Date: $10,000 for ITA & Conservation Plan
Total Expected Cost: $10,000

Final Report Status:
Approved! Information about the Harvesting Program.

Lake Catherine Filtration Project

Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes designed a filtration system in numerous points in Lake Catherine, including Trevor Creek to reduce incoming sediments and excessive nutrients from entering in the lake.

Trevor Creek has been identified as one of the major sources of sediment into the Fox Chain-O’-Lakes contributing as much as 12% of all the sediment that enters the entire system (second only to the Fox River itself). Specifically with respect to Lake Catherine, Trevor Creek is the main contributor of sediment. Often accompanying such sediment flows are large concentrations of excessive nutrients from non-point sources.

Regulatory Approvals Status:
Secured endorsement for program from Fox Waterway Agency.

Applied to IL EPA for a Section 319 Non-point source Grant. Applied to Lake County Watershed Management Board for a WMB Grant.

Implementation Status: 
Hired Living Waters Consultants, Inc. (LWC), a professional engineering firm based out of Western Springs, IL, to conduct an assessment of Trevor Creek and the adjacent stormwater drains. LWC created a preliminary design for the filtration system and assisted with submittal of the Plan to IL EPA requesting a 319 non-point source grant.

Spent to Date: $12,000 for assessment and preliminary design
Total Expected Cost: $30,000 – $150,000

Final Report Status:
Awaiting grant approval.

Harvesting Program

We are thrilled to inform you that we have secured approval of our Incidental Take Assessment from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to implement a harvesting program in 2020. Find our press release here.