PEORIA – April 24, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn kicked off a major riverfront restoration project in Peoria that will relocate sediment built up in Peoria Lake, part of the Illinois River, to construct an island for use as a wildlife habitat. Dredging up the sediment will enhance recreation and improve shipping lanes on Peoria Lake.
Governor Quinn joined officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Rock Island District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to announce the effort nearly two decades in the making.
“It is fitting that on this Earth-week, we celebrate the beginning of what could be considered the ‘ultimate recycling project’,” said Governor Quinn. “We are taking sediment that has built up and debilitated the Illinois River for years and redeploying it to create a natural habitat. It will also enhance recreational opportunities along the riverfront and improve shipping lanes for business and industry that depend on the Illinois River for transportation.”
Scheduled to begin in June, this project to construct a 21-acre island just north of the McClugage Bridge and excavate sediment from Peoria Lake will be the first project in the Illinois River Basin Restoration Program. Once complete, the project will restore the deep-water fisheries habitat that has been lost in Lower Peoria Lake due to sedimentation buildup.
“Secretary LaHood, Governor Quinn, the City of Peoria and area conservationists have worked hard to make this riverfront a place to be proud of. This project will extend that pride in the months ahead,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “IDNR is grateful to work with great partners like the Corps and the Peoria River Basin Alliance on such a worthwhile project with so many benefits.”
As chairman of the Illinois River Coordinating Council (IRCC), then Lt. Governor Quinn worked with river enthusiasts and the Corps to keep the project alive over a number of years and secure funding for the construction.