The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Chicago District released for public comment the “Upper Des Plaines River and Tributaries, Illinois and Wisconsin Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment,” Sept. 3, 2013. The document outlines a variety of potential flood risk management and ecosystem restoration projects that could be implemented along the Upper Des Plaines River – an area that extends approximately from Racine, Wis., to Riverside, Ill.
The report is available online at http://1.usa.gov/1dtLpFg. Comments will be accepted by the Chicago District until Oct. 2, 2013. In addition, digital copies of the integrated report will be available at the following libraries within the project study area: Des Plaines; Franklin Park; Warren Newport in Gurnee; Cook Memorial in Libertyville; Vernon Area in Lincolnshire; Park Ridge; Prospect Heights; River Grove; Riverside; Schiller Park; and Indian Trails in Wheeling.
The study was completed in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Office of Water Resources), Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Cook County, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Kenosha County.
“This report is unique in that it gives us the opportunity to look at the entire watershed from a holistic approach – allowing us to consider a variety of issues impacting the river and its tributaries,” said Col. Frederic A. Drummond Jr, commander, Chicago District.
The plans outlined in the draft report propose the construction of levees, reservoirs and other features to reduce flood damages in the Upper Des Plaines River watershed. If approved, the projects will reduce flood risk in communities across the watershed, providing approximately $6.8 million annual net economic benefits. The plans also include proposed ecosystem restoration features that would restore over 10,900 acres of native marsh, meadow, prairie, savanna, woodland and forest habitats in the watershed. Other features including recreational trails are also a part of the proposed plans.
“The state appreciates the work that USACE has put into looking at problems on the Des Plaines River, and we look forward to opportunities to help solve some of the flooding and ecological issues of the watershed,” said Arlan Juhl, director, Office of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
This study builds upon the previously authorized Des Plaines River Phase I Study by including an expanded study area – the entire Upper Des Plaines watershed, including 15 tributaries in Illinois and Wisconsin and an expanded scope – ecosystem restoration, water quality and recreation features.
Comments may be submitted online at the project website; mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District, 231 S. LaSalle Street, Ste. 1500, Chicago, IL 60604, ATTN: Peter Bullock; or e-mailed to UDPR&T@usace.army.mil.
Public meetings to provide additional information about the report are planned for mid to late September. Information about the public meetings will be posted at www.lrc.usace.army.mil when available.