The Kankakee River
Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission, the panel newly tasked
with coordinating river stewardship for eight Northwest Indiana counties,
convened for the first time.
The Indiana General
Assembly created the Commission earlier this year to succeed the Kankakee
River Basin Commission (KRBC), which served the region for over four
“I served as
chairman of the KRBC in its infancy,” said newly elected Commission Chair
and St. Joseph County Surveyor John McNamara. “After decades of work, it is
deeply gratifying to lead this next level of commitment to flood protection,
economic development, and natural resources in our region.”
Also selected were
Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson as Vice-Chair; Porter County Engineer
Michael Novotney as Secretary; and Starke County Surveyor Bill Crase as
Treasurer. Rounding out the panel are Jasper County Commissioner James
Walstra; LaPorte County farmer John Coulter, Sr.; Marshall County Surveyor
Craig Cultice; and Newton County farmer Rob Churchill. Representing the
State of Indiana is Ryan Mueller, Division of Water Director for the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources.
With the exception
of Mueller, all members were appointed by the county commissioners in their
respective areas. Through authority granted by the General Assembly, the
Commission also invited two, non-voting representatives of Illinois counties
along the Kankakee River to join the body in advisory roles.
flooding in 2018, the Indiana legislature responded by empowering a
streamlined commission with long-term funding for flood control, erosion
mitigation, and economic and natural resource development. The Kankakee and
Yellow River Basins are home to some of the world’s most productive
farmland, historic communities, and tens of thousands of Indiana residents.
Demonstrated increases in flood events have cost the state and local
communities millions in repairs, emergency responses, economic disruption,
and threats to regional revenue bases.
new mission statement: “The Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin
Development Commission advances Northwest Indiana’s safety, economic
prosperity, and quality of its natural resources.”
new vision: “The Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development
Commission is building a region where its residents, farms, and communities
prosper in concert with one of the nation’s most unique natural
In other business,
the Commission established the functionality of its statutorily-defined
Technical Advisory Committee. McNamara appointed LaPorte County Surveyor
Anthony Hendricks to serve as committee chair, and Kim Peterson will
represent Northwest Indiana’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Also
serving their respective counties on the key advisory panel will be Jasper
County Surveyor Vince Urbano; Lake County resident Tom Larson; Marshall
County Commissioner Mike Delp; Newton County Surveyor Chris Knochel; Porter
County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke; St. Joseph County Construction Technician
John Law; and Starke County farmer Dan Gumz.
The next meeting of
the Commission is scheduled for Thursday, August 22 at 9:30 a.m. CST at a
location to be determined. All meetings of the Commission and its Technical
Advisory Committee are open to the public.
information regarding the Commission, contact Executive Director Scott
Pelath at (219)210-1002, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org