Chicago Area Waterway System updates to Water Control Manual for area locks, dams released for public comment

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District
Published Nov. 19, 2021

CHICAGO -- The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District is releasing for public comment the Chicago Area Waterway System Updates to the Water Control Manual for Chicago Lock and T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam draft Environmental Assessment.

The project limits for the proposed deviation would include the North Branch of the Chicago River extending north to the Wilmette Pumping Station, the South Branch of the Chicago River, and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal extending southwest to the Lockport Lock and Dam. The proposed deviation is not expected to adversely affect navigation, which is the authorized purpose of the CAWS.

The draft EA considers two alternatives to address the elevated risk of overbank flooding, including the No Action Alternative. The recommended plan for implementation includes updates to the Water Control Manual for Chicago Lock and T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam allowing the water level in the CAWS to be lowered to -4 Chicago City Datum in advance of heavy participation events.

As part of the National Environmental Policy Act public review process, the USACE Chicago District is accepting comments or concerns the public might have about potential impacts to the environment from this proposed project. This could include any impacts to neighborhoods and communities, and to various habitats, threatened and endangered species, or cultural and social resources.

The draft EA is available at the Chicago District’s Project webpage:

The Corps is accepting comments on the draft EA through December 22, 2021. Comments should be sent to Ryan Johnson, by email at Questions should be directed to Johnson at (312) 846-5559 or through the above email.


Vanessa Villarreal

Release no. 21-036