Local lawmakers: State dedicates $2.3M for river basin improvements

Posted by: Jessica Bruder  | Friday, October 25, 2019 11:58 am

STATEHOUSE (Oct. 25, 2019) – The newly created Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Commission recently received $2.3 million in state funding for maintenance and improvements, according to State Reps. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) and Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie).

According to Gutwein, the funding will be used to maintain river gages, which measure water depth, remove fallen trees along the rivers, address sand erosion in the basins and make other necessary improvements.

“Flooding issues have been a source of frustration for people in our area for many years,” Gutwein said. “Homeowners and farmers have expressed their concerns, and they have been heard. Addressing the river drainage problems will be a big project, but the funding from the state will be instrumental in getting the ball rolling.”

Gutwein authored and Pressel co-authored the law during the 2019 legislative session establishing the new commission. Previously 24 members, the now streamlined nine-member board has representatives from each of the eight counties in the basin and one representative from the Department of Natural Resources.

“The drainage problems in the Kankakee and Yellow river basins has been a major headache, costing landowners significant time and money over the last several years,” Pressel said. “The $2.3 million from the state will help to alleviate some of those issues as the commission begins to work toward making improvements.”

Gutwein said improvements to the basins will take years of work and an estimated $120 million, but the $2.3 million from the state is a great starting point to better address the current flooding and drainage issues.

“I have no doubt the commission will capitalize on the momentum provided through this funding, and I look forward to seeing the progress made in the years that follow,” Gutwein said. 

The funding comes from an appropriation made in the state’s biennial budget. Visit KankakeeAndYellowRivers.org for more information and to follow the commission’s progress. 

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State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) represents House District 16, which
includes all of Pulaski County and portions of Fulton, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo of Gutwein.

State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) represents House District 20,
which includes portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.
Click
 here for a high-resolution photo.