Corps releases Jackson Park draft study report for public comment

Published April 11, 2014
Woodland at Jackson Park Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program Project

Woodland at Jackson Park Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program Project

CHICAGO - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District has posted for a 30-day public review a draft study report and Environmental Assessment for the Jackson Park Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Project April 11, 2014.

The project site consists of approximately 155 acres of natural land along the western coast of Lake Michigan between 56th and 67th streets. The Chicago Park District owns the land and requested the Corps’ study. View the documents on the project’s Web page:

Jackson Park was designed by Fredrick Olmsted in 1890 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The report presents the assessment of ecological conditions and potential plans to restore important migratory bird, fish and wildlife habitat within the highly-urbanized environment from historic, current and forecasted future site conditions for Jackson Park. The report also provides a recommended plan for habitat restoration.

The comment period ends May 12, 2014. Comments must be received within 30 days and may be sent to Peter Bullock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 231 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1500, Chicago, Ill. 60604, or by e-mail at Questions should be directed to Mr. Bullock at 312-846-5587. Agency and public review comments will be addressed as they are received. Pertinent comments will be incorporated into the document.

One crucial component important to ecosystem integrity is native plant community richness and structure. Historically, Chicago’s shoreline was lush with vast expanses of species rich and structurally-diverse wetlands. The natural area patches within Jackson Park have the potential to provide pond, fringe marsh, sedge meadow, savanna and woodland habitat.

Current state at Jackson Park:

-   Unnatural conditions that promote invasive species success

-   Fragmentation of inter and intra site habitat patches

-   Absence of submergent aquatic beds

-   Absence of species rich coastal plant communities

-   Absence of rare and sensitive coastal plant and animal species

-   Lack of critical habitat for locally endangered and rare fauna

-   Lack of migratory bird resting and forage habitats

Five alternative plans were identified by the team as the best options after considering ecosystem outputs; significance of the ecosystem outputs; completeness, acceptability, effectiveness and efficiency of the potential plan; and any associated risks or uncertainties that may affect or result from the potential plan.

The plan that reasonably maximizes net National Ecosystem Restoration benefits and is consistent with the Federal objective, authorities and policies, is identified as the National Ecosystem Restoration (NER)/Preferred Plan. The Environmental Assessment found no adverse affects resulting from implementation of the NER/Preferred Plan.

The NER/Preferred Plan includes elements of mudpuppy habitat, invasive plant species removal, pond, existing Islands, fish community separator, invasive fish species removal, native pond species introduction, geomorphic contouring, vernal pool, sedge meadow, savanna/open woodland and fringe marsh.

All significant aspects of the Jackson Park study area’s resource problems were considered, including environmental, social, cultural, and economic effects, as well as engineering feasibility.



Sarah Gross

Release no. 041114-001