CHICAGO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released for public review Documentation of Changes to the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment for the “Upper Des Plaines River and Tributaries, Illinois and Wisconsin Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment,” originally released to the public on Sept. 3, 2013. The document was prepared based on public comment and outlines proposed changes to the 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 southern Racine County, Wis., to Riverside, Ill.
The primary changes being proposed are the removal of the proposed Aptakisic Creek Reservoir as a potential site for compensatory storage needed to prevent impacts from three proposed levees in Cook County and replacing it with two new compensatory storage reservoir sites, which together will provide the required storage to mitigate for floodplain impacts from the construction of the levees.
The first site is a reservoir at Fullerton Woods Forest Preserve in River Grove and the second is at the Harry Semrow Golf Driving Range in Des Plaines.
“Public engagement in our planning process is a key factor in developing sound engineering solutions for flood risk management and environmental restoration in the Upper Des Plaines Watershed,” said Jeffrey Zuercher, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District. “Based on the public input we received on the original report, we were able to revise the plan to include these two new alternatives which, when combined, will provide the same amount of compensatory storage as the original reservoir.”
Fullerton Woods Forest Preserve was formerly used to store material excavated from the construction of the Deep Tunnel project. Construction of the tunnel required that large amounts of limestone be placed on the site and later removed. The limestone has been removed, but the site has not been restored. The new plan calls for creating a reservoir on the site while adding trails and picnic facilities to enhance the possible public uses.
The Harry Semrow Golf Driving Range option proposes utilizing the existing grass area to create a reservoir while minimizing the impact to the trees surrounding the driving range. The construction of the reservoir would include plans for continued use as a driving range.
This document is part of a larger report that proposed the construction of levees, reservoirs and other features to reduce flood damages in the Upper Des Plaines River watershed. 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.
Both the original report and the Documentation of Changes are available on the Chicago District website at http://1.usa.gov/1cvDvG2.
Comments will be accepted by the Chicago District until Feb. 18, 2014. Written 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.