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Indian Ridge Marsh

Indian Ridge Marsh covers over 145 acres on the southeast side of Chicago between Lake Calumet and the Calumet River. The project will enhance and naturalize existing aquatic, wetland, and woodland areas, create and monitor marsh, prairie. and savanna communities, seed and plant native species, and protect restored areas while encouraging public access.


Section 1135 of WRDA 1986 (Continuing Authority Program)

Project Description:

Located on southeast side of Chicago, the Indian Ridge Marsh project site covers about 145 acres between Lake Calumet to the West and the Calumet River to the east of. The site is bounded by 116th street on the north, Torrence Avenue on the east, the Calumet River on the south, and the Norfolk and Western railroad on the west. Specifically, the Indian Ridge Marsh site was used for the disposal of slag from steel making operations and dredged materials from the Calumet Harbor and River during the 1970s. Large portions of the marsh were filled with dredge material from disposal activities of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since then, lower quality wetlands have been reestablished throughout the site. The poor hydrology of the disturbed area has isolated the wetlands and ponds, allowing the wetlands to become overgrown with invasive and non-native species and reducing the diversity of native aquatic life. The project will preserve the existing Black-crowned Night Heron rookery; enhance and naturalize existing aquatic, wetland, and woodland areas; create marsh, wet prairie, mesic prairie, savanna, and wet woodland habitats; and protect restored areas while encouraging public access.


Total Project Cost:   $ 6,700,000
Federal Cost:   $ 5,000,000
Non-Federal Cost:   $ 1,700,000

Project Highlight:

After clearing and conducting invasive species removal during the first year of the contract, the Great Blue Heron and Egret nests increased from three (prior to these activities) to 25 (after these activities).  

Current 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 Map

Click map to enlarge.