CHICAGO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced in December 2018 that four Illinois communities will be the recipient of a very competitive USACE pilot program for the beneficial use of dredged materials.
The coastal communities of Evanston, Glencoe, Lake Bluff, and North Chicago, together, will be one of 10 recipients. The pilot program was established under the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, Section 1122, which requires the Corps to recommend 10 projects for the beneficial use of dredged material. 95 proposals were received nationwide from Feb. 8, 2018, to March 11, 2018.
Under the pilot program, the materials dredged from Waukegan Harbor, Illinois, will be used to provide public beach protection to the four Illinois coastal communities.
“Erosion is a real concern and this assistance is a positive step forward to restoring public beaches and promoting erosion control,” said Ron Salski, executive director of the Lake Bluff Park District.
The dredged material from the Waukegan Harbor will be placed onshore to protect 54,560 yards of shoreline at six sites: Sunset Park and Beach in Lake Bluff; Foss Park in North Chicago; Glencoe Beach in Glencoe; and Dog Beach, Greenwood Street Beach, and Lee Street Beach in Evanston. The project will also support planting of trees, shrubs, and grasses in all four communities that reduce shoreline and bluff erosion and enhance these habitats. These plantings will help dredged material to stay in place and ensure more lasting ecosystem benefits.
“The Chicago District looks forward to working with the four partner communities through this Section 1122 pilot project effort and through continued participation in the Illinois Sand Management Working Group,” said Alex Hoxsie, a USACE planner with the Chicago District. “The products of these collaborative and innovative approaches to shoreline management are likely to increase coastal resiliency in Illinois and benefit to the Corps’ shoreline protection and ecosystem restoration mission areas.”
The Chicago District currently maintains a positive working relationship with these communities through participation in the Illinois Sand Management Working Group, an initiative led by Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program. Dating back to 2015, the Illinois Sand Management Working Group is a network of elected officials and leaders from federal, state, and local organizations who collaborate on regionally-impactful and tangible approaches to public shoreline management.
“Intergovernmental agreements and collaboration are essential strategies to achieve goals and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Management Program are incredible partners and supporters. These agencies should be recognized and commended for their hard work and teamwork,” said Salski.
This proposal for the beneficial use of dredged materials came as a result of conversations and the critical relationships built through the Illinois Sand Management Working Group.
“Thanks to the strong commitment of this partnership network, the Illinois Sand Management Working Group creates the foundation that makes our shared successes in improved public shoreline management possible,” said Diane Tecic, program director of the Coastal Management Program. “The Coastal Management Program is thrilled that our facilitation and support of this network has led to such a meaningful opportunity for our state. Our close collaboration with USACE through this network is such a critical component of all of our efforts to build more resilient coastal communities in Illinois.”
The Chicago District’s mission focuses on flood risk management and storm damage reduction, navigation, environment, regulatory, emergency management, and interagency and international services in the Chicago metropolitan area, an area of about 5,000 square miles with a population of more than nine million.