February 1, 2018 - 9:00 am

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission - Lake Michigan Room 6100 Southport Rd. Portage, IN 46368

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance 9:00

Introductions 9:05

Approval of December 7, 2018 EMPC Meeting Minutes 9:10


a. Indiana Dunes Climate Change Adaptation Planning and Outreach 9:15

Katherine Powell – Field Museum of Natural History

NIRPC Business 9:45

a. Greenways and Blueways 2020 Re-release for Public Comment and Public Meeting – Kathy Luther, NIRPC Staff

Public Comment 9:50

Announcements 9:55

Adjourn 10:00



Next EMPC Meeting – March 1, 2018

TTY users may access the Relay Indiana Service by calling 711 or 1-800-743-3333.

Requests for alternative formats may be made 48 hours in advance by contacting Mary Thorne

at 219-763-6060, ext. 131 or email to

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, parental status, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.

Just following up on the details for the presentation., will be presenting for 20 mins with an additional 10 mins for Q&A (30 mins total). They will be sending me their PowerPoint on October 2nd or 3rd, so we can have it ready to go for them the morning of the meeting.


NIRPC- Lake Michigan Room December 7, 2017

Members/Guests: Geof Benson, AJ Monroe, Michael Kuss, BreShawn Spikes, Tim Kingsland, Robert Verbik, Rachel Ckeaser, George Malis, Drew Hart Leslie Dorworth, Lauri Keagle, Kaitlyn McClain, Jen Birchfield, Jennifer Gadzala, George Topoll, Deb Backhus, Maggie Byrne, Reggie Korthals.

NIRPC Staff: Joe Exl, Rachel Veronesi and Mary Thorne.

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman Geof Benson called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and self- introductions.

Approval of September 7, 2017 EMPC Minutes

On motion by Tim Kingsland and a second by Reggie Korthals, the October 5, 2017 EMPC meeting minutes were unanimously approved as presented.


  1. CommuniTree – Joe Exl, NIRPC

    Joe Exl, Drew Hart and BreShawn Spikes presented an update on the successful tree program with NIRPC and several communities. There were 750 trees in all with about a 98% survival rate. We will be getting about $100,000 for the program next year. For more information, go to the website at

  2. Deep River Watershed Initiative – Joe Exl, NIRPC

    Joe Exl presented on the Deep River Watershed initiative which concludes at the end of the month. The purpose of this initiative is to restore and protect streams in the watershed. The watershed plan, which has been approved by IDEM and the EPA, is in the implementation phase. Joe Exl gave a brief account of the work in the following areas: St. Peter and Paul Church in Merrillville, vegetative swale installation with a project cost of $17,500; North Lake Park Avenue, vegetative swale with inlet and outlet structures, project cost of $75,000; Hobart City Hall, rain garden and turf replacement, project cost of $75,000. Other projects: a Deep River Dam engineering feasibility study with assistance of DNR Coastal Program & LARE Program funding, will be finished in June 2018; Outreach and Public Involvement for Hoosier River Watch monitoring sites. NIRPC applied for but did not receive an IDEM 319 to implement several watershed plans, so partnerships are important. Jen Birchfield suggested a tour of the projects occur next summer.

    New Business: None presented

    Public Comment: No comments were offered.

    Other Announcements

    1. South Shore Clean Cities Annual Meeting and Awards February 20, 2018. Visit for more information.

    2. DNR Coastal has several small grants available. The deadline is January 15, 2018. Contact for more information.

    3. Grant Specialist position was posted on State of Indiana jobs website. Contact: Maggie Byrne 219-983-9912,

    4. NWI Urban Waters - 2018 Work Plan Development Meeting will be held on January 26, 2018 from 9:30 am – noon at NIRPC. Contact: Jennifer Birchfield (219) 805-1440,

    5. IDEM Commissioner Bruno Piggott has been invited to the joint Forum/EMPC meeting on January 4 at 9 a.m. at NIRPC.

    6. Four Watershed Boundary Signs are going in at Portage, Porter County, St. John and Lake County. The unveiling is tonight at the Merrillville Stormwater Education Center on Broadway.

The next meeting of the Environmental Management Policy Committee will be held on January 4, 2018 at 9 a.m.

Hearing no other business, Chairman Benson adjourned the meeting at 9:55 a.m.

A Digital MP3 of this meeting is filed. Contact Mary Thorne at 219-763-6060 or should you wish to receive a copy of it.