Corps of Engineers to begin Phase 2 Fort Sheridan Great Lakes Fishery, Ecosystem Restoration project

Published July 22, 2020

By Vanessa Villarreal, USACE Chicago District, Public Affairs Office

Next week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District will start construction for Phase 2 of the Fort Sheridan Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) project at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in unincorporated Lake County, Illinois.

During Phase 2, underwater living reef structures will be placed near shore along the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve land of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, north and south of Cliff Road. The tops of the finished structures will be roughly 4 to 7 feet under the surface of the water. Barges will be used to deliver all materials and equipment to the site during placement, including a crane that will be used to place the structures. No significant increase in local vehicle traffic should result from this activity, and public access will be restricted within the work limits  for the duration of heavy construction (July 2020 – October 2020).

The Phase 1 portion of the project, in its final stages, includes restoring 75 acres within four main ravines (McCormick, Hutchinson, Schenk, and Scott), 40 acres of bluff and 12 acres of dune along the coastline, and about 60 acres of riparian woodland. The goal is to bring resilience and connectivity to coastal natural habitats and to restore historical native plant communities along 1.5 miles of Lake Michigan. The five-year construction contract for Phase 1 will be substantially complete in fall 2020. The nonfederal partners for Phase 1 are Lake County Forest Preserve District, Openlands, City of Lake Forest, and Lake Forest Open Lands Association.

In September 2019, Phase 2 was initiated via a separate contract to the Architectural Consulting Group of Chicago for the installation of underwater reefs in Lake Michigan. These native stone and large woody debris reefs will be placed nearshore along the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve land of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, north and south of Cliff Road. The intent of the reefs is to provide structural and hydrodynamic habitat for fishes, mudpuppy salamander, and migratory water birds by mimicking the natural reefs found on Chicago’s coastline.

The nonfederal sponsor for Phase 2 is the Lake County Forest Preserve District. GLFER projects are cost shared 65 percent federal and 35 percent nonfederal. The total project cost (Phases 1 and 2) is estimated to be $14M with a federal share of $9.1M, and nonfederal share of $4.9M. The majority of the federal share was funded with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, visit the project webpage and “like” our Facebook page:

Vanessa Villarreal
(312) 846-5331

Release no. 20-014