Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden project is an ecosystem restoration project to stabilize and restore portions of the shoreline of the lake system within the garden.


Section 206, Water Resources Development Act 1996, as amended (Continuing Action Program)


The Chicago Botanic Garden is located in the northeast part of Cook County bounded by Lake Cook road to the north, Green Bay road to the east, Dundee road to the south and the Skokie River to the west.  It encompasses 385 acres, of which 75 acres are aquatic, with 5.7 miles of shoreline in a lake system containing nine islands.  The lake system is off-line from the Skokie River and is a hydrologically 'closed system,' receiving runoff from the adjacent 290 acre watershed. 
Sustained high and low water levels have been detrimental to the shoreline, with up to 13 acres of land lost over the last 30 years.  Approximately 3.1 miles of shoreline have been restored to date by others. The remaining Corps work will help stabilize significant portions of the eroded riparian habitat on the North Lake and Fruit and Vegetable Island shoreline.  Major features include some grading and restoring riparian habitat with native plants and limited hardened shoreline.


Total Project Cost:

  $ 8,090,000

Federal Cost:

  $ 5,000,000

Non-Federal Cost:

  $ 3,090,000


This project has been completed and handed over to the local sponsor for continued operation in maintenance. Final fiscal documentation was coordinated in December 2013 and this project is considered fiscally and physically complete. Construction was substantially completed with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 4, 2012, which officially opened the projects 6,400' of shoreline restoration for use by the public. The construction project finished shoreline restoration Fruit and Vegetable Island as well as a majority of the North Lake. Over 120,000 plants were installed as a finish product for sheet-pile, concrete wall, or rock berm stabilization structures. This effort brings the total shoreline restoration total to 4.2 miles of the 5.7 miles needed.

Project Manager

Jeffrey K. Zuercher