US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District

Northerly Island

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Great Lakes Fishery & Ecosystem Restoration (Section 506, WRDA 2000), as amended.


The Northerly Island is a 91-acre manmade peninsula located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.  It is south of the Adler Planetarium and provides protection to Burnham Harbor.  The restoration project is about 40 acres on the southern portion of the peninsula.  From 1947 to 2002 the island was home to a small airport known as Meigs Field. Today, the northern end of the island is occupied by a music venue, Charter One Pavilion. Northerly Island’s unique location and vicinity within Lake Michigan provides an ecological refuge to a variety of wildlife.  


The addition of the new native habitat types on Northerly Island provide a heterogeneous ecosystem that will promote species diversity. The project restored lake, and created pond, marsh, wet prairie, mesic prairie and black oak savanna habitats for resident and migratory species of insect, fish, amphibian, reptile and bird. Each habitat type provides important stop-over, nesting, and foraging opportunities to a unique suite of bird species. The pond, emergent marsh and lacustrine habitat provide critical spawning habitat for many native game and non-game fishes. The aquatic features provide critical habitat for the state threatened banded killifish and the mudpuppy. Overall, the project greatly benefits the overall ecological integrity of the area.


Total Project Cost:

 $ 10,027,721

Federal Cost:

 $ 6,490,988

Non-Federal Cost:

 $ 3,536,733

*This project was partially funded with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds received from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Northerly Island was opened back up to the public in September 2015 after being closed for construction. Construction was completed in fall 2017. In the winter/spring of 2016, the Chicago Park District (CPD) closed the east portion of the path due to erosion issues. The Corps' Chicago District worked with CPD on a repair plan. A contract to fix the erosion was awarded in January 2019. Work will begin in spring 2019.

Project Manager

Kirston Buczak

Project Area

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