The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Chicago District released for public comment the “Upper Des Plaines River and Tributaries, Illinois and Wisconsin Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment,” Sept. 3, 2013. The document outlines a variety of potential flood risk management and ecosystem restoration projects that could be implemented along the Upper Des Plaines River - an area that extends approximately from Racine, Wisconsin to Riverside, Illinois.
The study was completed in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Office of Water Resources), Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Cook County, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Kenosha County.
The plans outlined in the draft report propose the construction of levees, reservoirs and other features to reduce flood damages in the Upper Des Plaines River Watershed. If approved, the projects will reduce flood risk in communities across the watershed, providing approximately $6.8 million annual net economic benefits. The plans also include proposed ecosystem restoration features that would restore over 10,900 acres of native marsh, meadow, prairie, savanna, woodland, and forest habitats in the watershed. Other features including recreational trails are also part of the proposed plans.
This study expands upon the previously authorized Des Plaines River Phase I Study by including an expanded study area – the entire Upper Des Plaines watershed, including 15 tributaries in Illinois and Wisconsin and an expanded scope – ecosystem restoration, water quality and recreation features.
Comment period closed Oct. 3, 2013. In addition to online and written comment submissions, three public meetings with oral comment periods were held Sept. 23-25, 2013, in Mount Prospect and Libertyville, Ill. and Bristol, Wis.
Digital copies of the report are available at the following libraries within the project study area: Des Plaines; Franklin Park; Warren Newport in Gurnee; Cook Memorial in Libertyville; Vernon Area in Lincolnshire; Park Ridge; Prospect Heights; River Grove; Riverside; Schiller Park; and Indian Trails in Wheeling.