AUTHORITY: Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration, (Section 506, WRDA 2000), as amended.
DESCRIPTION: The study area is part of the northeastern Illinois coastline of Lake Michigan; bounded by Lake Michigan to the east and Sheridan Road to the west. The southern limits include the Schenck Ravine watershed while the northern limits include the McCormick Ravine watershed. The proposed restoration project would be located east of Sheridan Road within the City of Lake Forest, Town of Ft. Sheridan and City of Highland Park, Illinois. The Ft. Sheridan Section 506 study area included eight main ravines, several small unnamed ravines, the ravines’ watersheds, bluff along the coastline, the beach, and littoral zone of Lake Michigan. The proposed recommended restoration plan consists of fully restoring 5 ravines, 40-acres of bluff and about 1.5 miles of coastal lacustrine and dune habitat. The goal is to stabilize coastal communities and restore historical native plant communities along Lake Michigan.
BENEFITS: Reduce erosion and promote healthy littoral processes; stabilize bluff, ravine and dune communities to reduce erosion and sedimentation into Lake Michigan; remove non-native/invasive species which are degrading native plant communities, improve habitat for endangered/threatened coastal species; enhance surf zones along the beach areas for fishes; and provide educational opportunities for beach visitors to understand the unique coastal habitats.
CURRENT STATUS: The feasibility study was initiated in 2009. The draft feasibility report and environmental assessment went out for the 30-day agency and public review on November 12, 2014. The feasibility study was approved in January 2015. Design was completed in August 2015. A five-year construction contract was awarded in September 2015 to John Keno and Company Inc. for almost $7.4M. Construction is anticipated to be complete in fall 2020. The site will remain closed in order to place additional sand, plant grass, and allow the newly-planted grass to establish. The site will be evaluated in summer 2018 to see if it's possible to open up the site then.