Chicago, IL --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District (Corps) is extending the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping period for the Chicago Shoreline General Reevaluation Report (GRR) until April 30, 2023.
The Corps will be preparing a NEPA document on the impacts associated with a Coastal Storm Risk Management study in the City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District partnered with the Corps to study ongoing shoreline erosion and coastal storm damage due to variable lake levels and storm-driven waves that impact at-risk reaches along the shoreline. The proposed study area is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline within the City of Chicago.
Previously, an environmental assessment (EA) was completed for the 1994 Feasibility Report for the Chicago Shoreline Storm Damage Reduction Project, which was subsequently authorized by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996. The Corps is now conducting a GRR focusing on coastal storm risk management on areas of the shoreline that were not recommended for implementation in the original 1994 feasibility study and any underperforming segments of the rehabilitated shoreline.
The project scope of the GRR does not include the Morgan Shoal element of the original authorized project, as that section is currently in the design phase and undergoing a separate NEPA documentation process. NEPA scoping letters for the Morgan Shoal element were sent out in October 2022, with additional opportunities to comment during the public review period in the coming months.
Additionally, the City of Chicago’s 2023 capital bond includes funding to plan and design shoreline rehabilitation of Promontory Point. The Corps also received federal funding for a
third-party review of the previously authorized Promontory Point element per Section 5072 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. These funds will enable the Corps’ Technical Centers of Expertise in Seattle and Buffalo Districts to review the City’s designs for consistency with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as well as the Corps’ coastal storm risk reduction design standards. Because Promontory Point is now funded for separate planning and design as well as the third-party review, this segment will not be included in the scope of the GRR, allowing the design and construction process to begin sooner. Similar to other completed shoreline segments, Promontory Point will have a separate NEPA environmental review and consultation process specific to that element of the project including a separate NEPA scoping period and additional opportunities for public input.
Potential measures that could be implemented to reduce coastal storm risks along the Chicago Shoreline include the following:
1) Structural (e.g., breakwaters, seawalls, revetments, and groins)
2) Natural and Nature-based features (e.g., beach nourishment, submerged reefs, vegetation, ecologically enhanced structures)
3) Non-structural (e.g., floodproofing, flood warning plans, emergency evacuation plans)
As part of the NEPA scoping process, the Chicago District would appreciate any comments or concerns you might have about potential impacts from the potential implementation of these types of measures in the study area. This could include impacts to various habitats, threatened and endangered species, or cultural, historic, and social resources. The NEPA scoping process is open to anyone to provide comments on the project and sharing of this scoping letter is encouraged. Enclosure 2 is a list of state and federal agencies, elected officials, tribal nations, and interested parties receiving this request.
Please visit the project webpage for more information:
We are accepting comments through multiple avenues including via email to Ms. Samantha Belcik at ChicagoShoreline@usace.army.mil, through a fillable contact form on the project website and through an online crowdsourcing tool accessed through the project website. To ensure sufficient time is allowed for stakeholders to provide comments, we are extending the NEPA scoping period. Comments must be provided by April 30, 2023.