Chicago — Engaging local communities and developing effective partnerships to solve local flooding problems and implement green and gray infrastructure solutions is a vital part of a successful master planning process. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago awarded Cardno and four other consultant teams each a pilot masterplan project to develop a community-based plan addressing local flooding.

Cardno’s senior water resources engineer and project manager Heather Schwar, P.E., will present the pilot public engagement plan her team developed at the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM) annual conference on March 9th in Tinley Park, Illinois.

She will then participate in a panel discussion with the other consultant firms to compare methods selected, successes and lessons learned.

Heather and the Cardno team will discuss the stakeholder and public engagement program that was developed for the town of Harwood Heights.  They will explain how Cardno’s team engaged its residents to develop solutions for problems related to a combined sewer system for a community without a natural drainage outlet. The teams will discuss their experiences engaging local communities and developing partnerships to solve local flooding. The discussion of the five teams’ engagement plans will provide valuable information to IAFSM members that can be applied to future partnership and outreach efforts.

Heather is a registered Professional Engineer in seven states and has 16 years of experience on projects for the federal government, local planning commissions, and the private sector. Her work encompasses the entire project life cycle, from planning and conceptual through design and permitting to construction and monitoring. She has a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering-Water Resources and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering.

You can find more information on the IAFSM website at