US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District

Eugene Field

AUTHORITY:

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

DESCRIPTION:

The 12.75-acre Eugene Field is located south of Foster Avenue between Ayers and Monticello streets, and bisected by the North Branch Chicago River. This project entirely lies within the City of Chicago, Cook County, Ill. The river and its riparian zone was degraded. The recommended plan was implemented to restore river, wetland and oak savanna habitats. Invasive plant species, including cotton wood trees, were removed.

Eugene Field Park: There & Back Again, a Brief Natural History

BENEFITS:

The recommended plan restored the landscape of Eugene Field Park as close to pre-settlement conditions as possible. The removal of fill to expose native soil series allowed for a more species rich plant community to develop over time. Although the hydrology of the surrounding area and stream system was completely unnatural, the removal of 20,000-cyd of fill created a wetter system to support native vegetation. Half of the clean fill was used on site to raise and level the sports field. None of the clean fill was placed in a wetland or waterway. The banks along the Chicago River were naturalized as part of this alternative to facilitate reconnection of the floodplain and restored the native landscape of the site. In-stream complexity was increased through channel form restoration accomplished by placing cobble riffles and woody debris in selected locations. The cobble riffles consisted of 1,689-cyd of clean, glacial cobble stones purchased from a commercial vendor. Benefits included a more species rich stream corridor and riparian zone, improvements in local water quality, lessened unnatural erosion along the banks, increased quality habitat for migrating and resident birds, and provided opportunity for local schools to observe ecological activity within a heavily urbanized area.

COSTS:

Total Project Cost:

  $ 1,500,000

Federal Cost:

  $ 975,000

Non-Federal Cost:

  $ 535,200

STATUS:

Construction was initiated in April 2011 and was completed in November 2014. The project received the 2014 Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from Chicago Wilderness. The award is for outstanding efforts to address environmental problems and restore lost function and native biodiversity in the Chicago Region. The project was closed out in September 2015.

Project Manager

Kirston Buczak

Project Area

 
Click map to enlarge.

Photos