Fellow Chicago Field Office staffer Shelley Cabrera and I recently attended a press conference given by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago’s Oak Street Beach. We were there on a sunny spring Saturday to hear the governor announce that WHC was one of 26 beneficiaries of a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects that will benefit the Lake Michigan shoreline.
WHC was awarded a grant of $50,004 for “Restoring Urban-Industrial Habitats in the Illinois Coastal Zone.” 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 on “working lands.”
The project will be funded through the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP). Established in 2012, the ICMP is similar to programs in 29 other states and five island territories that have developed coastal management programs to collaborate with communities to protect coastal regions.
With at least 83% of Illinois shoreline under private ownership, the development of conservation initiatives with regional industries is
crucial to advancing the priorities of the Illinois Lake Michigan Implementation Plan (ILMIP). The ILMIP is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources , Alliance for the Great Lakes, Chicago Wilderness, and the Biodiversity Project to create an agenda for the restoration and protection of Lake Michigan coastal resources in Illinois.
Using its established relationships with the regional business community and its decades of experience of establishing conservation and educational programs on private landholdings, WHC will undertake a collaborative effort to preserve, protect, remediate, and enhance the resources of Illinois’ coastal areas, greatly increasing the reach of the ILMIP.