Authority: Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem
Restoration, (Section 506, WRDA 2000)
Park Beach, owned and operated by the City of East Chicago, is located along
the Lake Michigan shoreline just southeast of Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in
Lake County, IN. The park is bounded to
the north by the Ameristar Casino, to the west by Cline Avenue and the Majestic
Star Hotel parking lot, to the south by the Majestic Star Casino, and to the
east by Lake Michigan. The project site
is adjacent to Amtrak railroad lines with approximately 15.8 acres of beach and
foredune habitat on the lakeside. The beach offers nearly 4500 feet of
shoreline for potential aquatic habitat improvement and over 25 acres of lake
bottom. Although the surrounding land
use is primarily industrial and commercial, Jeorse Park Beach is commonly
visited by birders and fishermen that take advantage of the park’s natural
The Jeorse Park
Beach Section 506 Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) project
includes restoring 14.8 acres of beach and dunes, introduce approximately 1
acre of native plantings to an existing breakwater and construct four submerged
rock reef structures as aquatic habitat.
The goal is to restore self-sustaining native plant communities
on shore and improve degraded hydrodynamic and biological processes within the
near shore areas of Jeorse Park Beach.
Non-Federal Sponsor: City of East Chicago
Involved Stakeholders: The
City of East Chicago is the cost sharing non-federal sponsor for the GLFER
project but there is a diverse assemblage of federal, state and local partners
that have a vested interest in the Jeorse Park Beach location. These members have come together to form the
Jeorse Park Taskforce which meets regularly to discuss the progress of
restorations plans, beach water quality monitoring and other projects that may
influence the project site. Members of
this Taskforce include but are not limited to staff from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, East Chicago
Water Management District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Michigan State
University, U.S. Geologic Survey, City of East Chicago, City of Gary and Alliance
for the Great Lakes.
Cost: GLFER projects are cost shared 65% Federal and
35% Non-Federal. The total project cost
is estimated between $1-5M. The Federal
share of this project is funded with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
funds received from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dune and beach
restoration will include the eradication of invasive plant species from the
project site, supplementing existing vegetation with high quality native
species and expanding naturalized areas of the beach. These restoration measures will positively affect
14.8 acres of beach and dune habitat to increase resting, reproductive and
foraging opportunities for both resident and migratory wildlife. In addition, these new plantings will help
stabilize and nurture dune formation by trapping sand on the site while
improving the buffering capacity of overland runoff of storm water as it enters
Lake Michigan. Native plantings
introduced to the existing breakwater will reintroduce overhanging vegetation
to Lake Michigan shoreline which provides shaded cover, foraging opportunities
and valuable organic input to the nearshore area to improve fisheries
habitat. These plantings will also
bolster native songbird habitat while detracting nuisance bird species such as
geese and gulls from the project site.
Finally, the rock reef construction will introduce structural and
hydraulic habitat diversity for native fishes along the littoral zone.
feasibility study was initiated in 2011.
The draft feasibility report and environmental assessment is currently
undergoing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 30-day public review
which is expected to be completed on 5 March 2016.
A sample copy of the 30-day review notification letter may be downloaded from this website and found with the draft feasibility report documents on the right column of this page.