CHICAGO – In honor of Earth Month, Governor Pat Quinn today visited a volunteer clean-up of Chicago’s Oak Street Beach to announce a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the Millennium Reserve-Calumet region. The projects will be funded through the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP), which was formed in 2012 by Governor Quinn to protect Illinois’ 63-mile Lake Michigan shoreline. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
“There is no better way to celebrate Earth Month than working to keep Illinois clean and safe for future generations,” Governor Quinn said. “These investments will help protect and preserve the Lake Michigan shoreline - one of Illinois’ most valuable natural resources.”
Governor Quinn today also urged people across Illinois to enjoy Earth Month by getting outdoors and volunteering for beach clean-ups and other activities. Today’s announcement was made at a beach clean-up that involved hundreds of volunteers organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which has been planning Illinois beach clean-ups since 1991. For more information on volunteer opportunities visit: Serve.Illinois.gov and dnr.illinois.gov/outreach/VolunteerOpportunities.
“Not only will these projects help protect and restore critical habitat along Lake Michigan, but they will help educate the next generation of conservationists and naturalists that will continue the mission,” Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) said. The Illinois Coastal Management Program, administered by IDNR, is dedicated to protecting, restoring and managing natural resources along our shoreline and contributing to the long-term development of our region. Established in 2012, Illinois’ Coastal Management Program joins 29 coastal states and five island territories that have developed Coastal Management programs to collaborate with communities in protecting our coastal regions. The ICMP Coastal
Grants are federally funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Last year, in its inaugural round of funding, the program invested more than $700,000 in 12 projects that have already paid dividends for our shoreline. For example, a thousand Chicago Public School students learned why and how to remove invasive buckthorn; Lake County high school students learned ravine conservation techniques; and the voices of 200 students were strengthened at the 17th Annual Chicago River Student Congress where they shared ideas and worked on water quality monitoring experiments.
Descriptions of the 26 Coastal Grant Program projects announced today are below:
William Tillman Maritime Education Program-Teacher Training – Prologue Inc.; $143,290
The William Tillman Maritime Science Program of Prologue Inc., will increase the number and scope of student-driven, school and community-based coastal environmental projects by providing professional development and technical assistance to teachers and community leaders at six inner city high schools.
SCA Calumet Crew – The Student Conservation Association; $136,426
The Student Conservation Association's Chicago Calumet Program will engage 20 youths from the Calumet Region in hands-on environmental learning and conservation work in the community. Participants will be recruited for this 10-month program from Chicago Public Schools and will focus on individuals traditionally underrepresented in the conservation field.
Calumet is My Back Yard (“CIMBY”) – Chicago Public Schools; $134,736
Teachers and students participate in a series of ecological restoration, stewardship and science learning activities at natural areas in the Calumet Region. Funding will support implementation of the expanded CIMBY program during 2014 and 2015 to support 17 high schools, more than 800 students and 50 Chicago Public Schools teachers.
Wild Indigo Nature Explorations Expansion – Audubon Chicago Region; $94,905
This new, joint program of Audubon Chicago Region, Eden Place Nature Center and the Forest Preserves of Cook County undertakes community engagement and stewardship work in communities on Chicago’s South Side. Program staff will lead free monthly nature exploration and stewardship field trips to the forest preserves of the Calumet Region that promote healthy bodies, healthy communities and a healthy planet.
Coastal Campus Signage and Lecture Series – Loyola University Chicago; $50,180
Using signage and a public lecture series at its Lake Shore Campus, the project will communicate to students, staff, neighbors and visitors the value of proximity to Lake Michigan, and the steps Loyola University is taking to make sustainable development a keystone to the creation of a 21st century campus.
Chicago Lakefront Parks – Outreach & Public Education – University of Illinois at Chicago; $48,507
A free “Walking Guide to the History & Features of Burnham Park,” and a similar guide for Lincoln Park will be produced. The Burnham Park booklet will be used to facilitate a public field day in the fall of 2014. The grant will also help to install a semi-permanent display in Burnham Park, which will highlight environmental education and conservation.
Pipes and Precipitation: Expanding Water Literacy to the 3rd/6th Grade District Students & Teachers – Evanston/ Skokie CC School District 65; $39,545
The purpose of “Pipes and Precipitation” is to expand a pilot Great Lakes education program in Evanston/Skokie CC School District 65 to include all third and sixth grade teachers and students. The project emphasis is on understanding concepts related to stormwater management.
Lakeside Heritage Walk – Friends of the Forest Preserves; $38,629
The Lakeside Heritage Walk is a series of permanent, public and free educational signs for Park No. 523 and a portion of 87th Street in South Chicago that will feature information on the site’s ecology and biodiversity, as well as its industrial past and ongoing redevelopment.
The Next Generation Mighty Acorns Curriculum – Chicago Wilderness Trust; $38,419
The Next Generation Mighty Acorns Curriculum project is a multi-agency effort to create a new and improved program curriculum that is aligned with current learning standards, reflects current trends in pedagogy and assessment, and brings coastal issues of wetland management to the forefront.
Nature Along the Lake Environmental Education Program – Friends of the Parks; $36,300
The Nature Along the Lake program provides lakefront park experiences that are customized to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) curriculum. The program currently serves more than 800 CPS students every year, and with this funding will triple the number of students served.
Calumet Community Outreach and Recreation Project – Friends of the Forest Preserves; $34,048
Project partners will conduct an outreach project to engage 250 local residents from communities that suffer from environmental justice challenges in nature based recreational activities. Residents will have the opportunity to get out and enjoy the sites, and learn about local ecology, stewardship and environmental justice issues.
Chicago Conservation Corps – Developing Community Awareness of Stormwater Management – Chicago Academy of Sciences; $31,876
Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) recruits, trains, and supports a network of volunteers (“Leaders”) who work together in neighborhoods on environmental service projects. These C3 Leaders will lead stormwater management projects in their communities to help residents learn about adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Openlands Eco-Exploration Program – Openlands; $30,474
Classrooms participating in Eco-Explorations visit the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve with an Openlands Educator, exploring the complex coastal ecosystem with ravines, tableland and lakeshore. Additionally, teachers are trained to implement classroom lessons on the topics of erosion, biodiversity, adaptation, habitat restoration and stewardship.
Great Lawns, Great Lakes – Preventing Nonpoint Source Pollution in the Illinois Coastal Zone – Midwest Pesticide Action Center; $26,508
This grant will fund education and outreach to residents, retailers, parks and schools in the Illinois Coastal Zone on sustainable lawn and landscape care practices that prevent nonpoint source pollution by reducing use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Migration, Monarchs, Birds and Me – Faith in Place; $22,000
Faith in Place will continue this innovative and successful program that helps recruit and retain volunteers for habitat restoration on the South Side of Chicago. The project uses personal stories of human migration in order to connect those stories and experiences to the stories of the migration of local fauna, such as songbirds and Monarch butterflies.
View of Nature from the Freedom Trail – Bronzeville Historical Society; $13,030
The Bronzeville Historical Society will guide visitors through the natural areas of the Stephen A. Douglas Tomb State Historic Site Migratory Bird habitat and adjacent Burnham Wildlife Corridor. Both locations are in a designated “Illinois Important Bird Area”.
Exploring Water Management from Lake Michigan to Little Village – Little Village Environmental Justice Organization; $10,414
The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization will lead an educational project that teaches high school students the root causes of water pollution in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Students will study the history and science of water management and sustainable stormwater practices, and develop projects that offer solutions to water pollution.
Lakefront Master Planning – Winnetka Park District; $119,000
This comprehensive master planning process for five Winnetka Park District (WPD) sites will identify, evaluate and address issues between the WPD and neighboring communities. This collaborative process will also address environmental and coastal enhancements, and bike and waterway linkage along the lakeshore.
Foss Park Master Plan – Foss Park District; $103,035
Foss Park Beach, in the North Chicago community, has been closed to the public for more than 20 years due to unsafe conditions on the steep, rocky shore. Foss Park Beach is among the only sections of unmanaged shoreline in Illinois. The Foss Park Master Plan will establish a long-term vision for the restoration of the park and guide its development.
Sustainable Plan to Improve Beach Water Quality and Public Access at Montrose Beach – Chicago Park District; $100,000
The Chicago Park District will complete a plan for improving beach water quality, mitigating nonpoint source pollution, and improving public access and habitat at Montrose Beach.
South Suburban Community Green Infrastructure Planning – Delta Institute; $88,184
The Delta Institute will facilitate a community-based green infrastructure planning process in South Suburban communities that will utilize vacant, brownfield properties to reduce neighborhood flooding and create more natural areas in the Illinois Coastal Zone.
South and North Wolf Lake Trail System Connection – Openlands; $77,000
This project will provide engineering design of segments of a pedestrian/bike trail and route leading toward a set of loop trails around parts of Wolf Lake . The result will be the most diverse trail riding experience available in one location in all of Northeast Illinois, creating a significant recreational attraction.
CMAP Local Technical Assistance Sustainable Coastal Planning project – Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning; $75,000
CMAP will enhance the environmental and natural resources aspects of the comprehensive plans for Winthrop Harbor, North Chicago and Zion by focusing on coastal sustainability goals, and by helping these coastal communities plan for the priorities identified in the Illinois Lake Michigan Implementation Plan by Lake County residents.
Shoreline Sediment Management Strategy – Alliance for the Great Lakes; $66,504
The Alliance will develop a comprehensive Shoreline Engagement Plan for how Illinois’ North Shore communities and stakeholders can effectively maintain existing coastal infrastructure, preserve the stability and ecological integrity of the overall shoreline, and realize individual benefits through shared management solutions.
Restoring Urban-Industrial Habitats in the Illinois Coastal Zone – Wildlife Habitat Council; $50,004
Wildlife Habitat Council will undertake a collaborative effort to preserve, protect, remediate and enhance the resources of the Illinois coastal area. With a focus on the South Chicago and Calumet Region, WHC will improve hydrologic regimes, provide green infrastructure to industrial sites, and promote the work of habitat restoration and stewardship.
Bull Creek-Lake Michigan Restoration Plan – Lake County Stormwater Management Commission; $25,000
Bull Creek is a major stream channel in the Dead River watershed, a tributary to Lake Michigan in Lake County. The project includes the planning phase elements necessary to restore the stream to desired ecological conditions integral to a sustainable restoration.