A changing climate, limited natural resources, population shifts—communities in Illinois and Indiana, as elsewhere, face challenges going forward. To be resilient, communities need to sustain diverse and vibrant economies, effectively respond to and mitigate hazards, and function within the limits of their ecosystems. IISG is helping communities apply the best-available scientific knowledge to improve or maintain quality of life, as measured by economic and social well-being, without adversely affecting environmental conditions.



Tipping Points and Indicators
For land use planners, balancing community growth and environmental health is a challenge. This web tool uses the latest research and technology to show planners how close their watershed is to environmental tipping points. Planners can use interactive maps and simulators—plus recommended policies, ordinances, and outreach—to prevent aquatic ecosystems from being degraded beyond repair.

Water Resources
Regional or municipal water supply planning can increase preparedness for droughts and climate change, reduce regional conflicts, and promote conservation. Providing adequate supplies of clean water at a reasonable cost will enhance economic development, environmental protection, and public health.

Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces
This Purdue projecthelps local decision makers collect data on community assets, plan improvements to public areas, and integrate those plans into larger community programs and goals. Facilitated workshops give participants the tools they need to design, implement, and evaluate community-specific public spaces projects.

Climate Change
IISG helps facilitate local decision makers in the Chicago metropolitan region to incorporate climate adaptation into local planning efforts by providing checklists, reports, workshops, webinars, and other resources that address the political, logistical, and financial aspects of local climate planning.

How to Dispose of Unwanted Medicine
Traces of medicine have been detected in waterways around the country. Since flushing medicine or throwing it in the trash contributes to the problem, what should one do with unwanted or expired medicines? This website provides everything a community needs to know to start a medicine collection program and help protect local waters.

Lawn to Lake
Lawn and garden chemicals applied in the Lake Michigan basin can wind up in the water, polluting the lakes with pesticides and excess fertilizer. Lawn to Lake promotes healthy landscape practices, offering communities, landscapers, residents, and others, tips for maintaining healthy lawns and landscapes without over-relying on chemicals.

Rainscaping at the resident and community scales can help prevent pollution from reaching water bodies by directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. The Purdue Rainscaping Education program provides training and resources on practices can range from simple solutions—like rain gardens—to more complex engineered systems.

Research Projects

Modeling the effects of land use/land cover change on surface water quality within the Chicago MSA
Cyril Wilson, Indiana State University

Quantifying the Impact of Land Cover Change and of Climate Change on Floods in Northeastern Illinois
Momcilo Markus, University of Illinois

Low impact development in Chicago for integrated watershed management across scales
Charles Werth, University of Illinois, Chicago


Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community
The Southern Lake Michigan Rain Garden Manual
Sustainable Lawn & Landscape Practices for Communities
Full-Cost Water Pricing Guidebook


Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
How to Dispose of Unwanted Medicine: Research and Resources
Purdue Rainscaping Education: Resources
Purdue University Center for Regional Development


Sarah Zack
Pollution Prevention Program Specialist

Kara Salazar
Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist

Margaret Schneemann
Water Resource Economist

Molly Woloszyn
Extension Climatologist

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Purdue University
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033
University of Illinois Extensio
Sea Grant
Purdue University