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Congressional Delegation Urges Action on Chicago Shoreline

Dec 13, 2019
Press Release

This week, the Chicago Congressional Delegation, led by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking them to take swift action to protect the Chicago shoreline.  Lake Michigan is currently in a period of record or near-record water levels, leading to significant erosion and damage along much of Chicago’s shoreline.  Members of the Illinois delegation representing portions of the City of Chicago are committed to ensuring sufficient federal investment to protect our lake front and a proper assessment of the impacts of climate and weather-related events on the Lake and its shores.  The letter was also signed by Representatives Bobby Rush, Danny K. Davis, Mike Quigley and Robin Kelly.

“For many Chicagoans, and people throughout the state of Illinois, our lake front is a treasure that makes this city and northern suburbs in my district great places to live,” said Schakowsky. “The Army Corps must act now to make sure we are protecting and preserving our shoreline not just for current residents, but also for generations to come.”

“It is critical to maintain a safe, updated, and strong shoreline along Lake Shore Drive. The impacts of climate change will continue to test the strength of Chicago’s shoreline in the years to come. That is why it is imperative for the Army Corps of Engineers to make a serious investment in this project,” Durbin said.

“It’s crucial that we do all we can to protect and restore our beautiful shorelines, which benefit thousands of Illinoisans every year,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in pushing for more funding and long-term solutions to mitigate the coastal damage happening on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago."

Davis added, “Chicago’s title of ‘Third Coast’ is acquiring new meaning as the combination of climate change leading to more extreme weather events and the subsidence of the southern Lake Michigan shoreline, a slow aftereffect of the glaciation during the last ice age, is leading to the rapid erosion of our precious lake shore.  We are experiencing higher lake levels, larger, more energetic waves and severe beach erosion and flooding reaching inland during heavy weather.  There is an urgent need for sustainable, long term solutions. The request of the Chicago Congressional delegation for federal funding for a study by the Army Corps of Engineers reflects that pressing need for a deeper understanding the impact of climate change on our lake and the science and engineering of shoreline stabilization.”

“I am proud to support funding for the Chicago Shoreline Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project.  Earlier this month, I convened a Community Stakeholder Meeting regarding this very issue, and I am heartened by the work that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has done to preserve most of Chicago’s 18-mile shoreline. However, still more needs to be done in order to protect all parts of Chicago’s lakefront. Portions of the pedestrian trail running along the Southside shoreline have been closed indefinitely, with some parts that have caved in due to record high lake levels and the associated erosion. As the Corps looks for long-terms solutions to lakefront erosion in Chicago, I call on them to not forget the eight miles of shoreline that runs along the Southside and will continue to fight to ensure they have the resources they need to accomplish this important mission,” said Rush.

Quigley stated, “as Chicago faces the impacts of climate change, it’s critical that the Army Corps of Engineers do what is necessary to protect our shoreline from erosion and flooding. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to champion federal funding and strong long-term planning to ensure our beautiful shoreline endures for future generations.”

A copy of the final letter is available HERE.