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Illinois joins in Great Lakes restoration and preservation     Send a link to a friend

Gov. Blagojevich signs Great Lakes Declaration

[DEC. 4, 2004]  CHICAGO -- On Friday Gov. Rod Blagojevich joined presidential Cabinet secretaries, members of the Great Lakes congressional delegation, governors, mayors and tribal leaders in signing the Great Lakes Declaration at the ceremonial conveners meeting held by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Leavitt in Chicago. Gov. Blagojevich pledged his support for developing a clear strategy for actions to protect and restore the Great Lakes through a collaborative process.

"Today's agreement marks an important milestone in the partnership among the federal government, the states and cities that are so fortunate to have Great Lakes shoreline," said Gov. Blagojevich. "Together we can better leverage our efforts to enhance this national resource we all share. We know that our efforts and additional investments in the Great Lakes will be rewarded many times over."

Gov. Blagojevich noted that Illinois is working with a variety of governmental and private groups to move forward on several fronts to protect Lake Michigan. Over the years, Illinois has developed regulations to ensure Lake Michigan water is used efficiently and economically. The "deep tunnel" project and other infrastructure and sustainable management improvements have vastly reduced storm water overflows and other pollutants from entering the lake.

Last month, Gov. Blagojevich announced that Illinois will join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Coastal Management Program to secure additional funds to protect the state's 63-mile portion of Lake Michigan's shoreline.

Recently, Illinois contributed $1.8 million and joined the U.S. EPA, the Corps of Engineers and other Great Lakes states in erecting a second electronic barrier to stop Asian carp and other destructive species from invading Lake Michigan. Gov. Blagojevich said Friday that additional funds are necessary to convert the existing demonstration barrier to a permanent facility and operate both barriers. The state estimates this will cost about $400,000 a year.

In addition, Waukegan Harbor, designated as Illinois' only "area of concern," continues to make a steady comeback, with the removal of 1 million pounds of contaminated sediments. Gov. Blagojevich noted, however, that much more must be done at Waukegan and elsewhere along the shoreline to protect the economic and recreational assets that Lake Michigan provides.

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Nearly 7 million Illinois residents -- more than half the state's population -- live in the northeastern Illinois and greater Chicago metropolitan area and rely on Lake Michigan for drinking water. Great Lakes fishing and shipping industries make significant contributions to the state's economy.

"Lake Michigan is Chicago's front yard; its magnificent vistas are a perfect complement to the many amenities that draw visitors from all over to this world-class city," said Gov. Blagojevich. "The Great Lakes are truly a national resource."

Gov. Blagojevich praised the Illinois congressional delegation, including U.S. Reps. Rahm Emanuel, D-5, and Mark Kirk, R-10, and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley for their energy and leadership on Great Lakes issues.

"Lake Michigan has an extraordinary impact on our economy and quality of life here in Illinois," said Gov. Blagojevich. "My administration looks forward to accelerating our efforts along with all of you to protect this national treasure for our children and grandchildren."

Below are fact sheets from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources summarizing ongoing state efforts to protect Lake Michigan.

[News release from the governor's office]

Fact sheets

Continuing efforts to protect Lake Michigan

December 2004

By the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

  • $75,000 annually to study and assess Lake Michigan water quality in cooperation with the city of Chicago.

  • $4 million in low-interest Drinking Water Revolving Loan funds since January 2003 to public water systems using Lake Michigan as their water source ($3.3 million federal, $0.7 million state).

  • $30,000 annually to analyze Lake Michigan fish samples and interpret results in order to issue fish consumption advisories.

  • $7,500 in staff resources annually to participate on multi-agency panel to identify sources of high E. coli found at some Lake Michigan beaches.

  • $350,000 for nonpoint source pollution environmental exhibits and education and outreach projects in areas directly affecting Lake Michigan ($250,000 federal, $100,000 state and local).

  • $886,900 in 2003 to support the roof greening technology demonstration project for developers, homebuilders and conservationists as an ecologically and aesthetically friendly way to reduce urban nonpoint source pollution ($532,100 federal, $354,800 state and local).

  • $136.4 million in low-interest Clean Water Revolving Loan funds since January 2003 for the control of combined sewer overflows in the Lake Michigan basin ($113.2 federal, $23.2 state).

  • $115.2 million in Clean Water Revolving Loan funds to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District since January 2003 for the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan for the control of combined sewer overflows in the Lake Michigan basin ($95.6 million federal, $19.6 million state).

  • $300,000 for mercury reduction initiatives that provide for collection of mercury-containing products at schools and for community education and outreach programs.

  • $48,000 in staff resources annually to coordinate activities affecting the Waukegan Harbor area of concern.

  • $300,000 to develop interactive geographic information system mapping tools for use by agency professionals and the public through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Internet site.

  • $27,825 for participation in the Air Transport Committee for Lake Michigan to identify sources of targeted priority pollutants contributing to air deposition into Lake Michigan.

  • $1 million expended since 2003 to conduct household hazardous waste collections in Cook and Lake counties.

  • $120,500 for oversight of federal activities at Fort Sheridan, located 25 miles north of Chicago along the shore of Lake Michigan. This was the first Base Realignment and Closure site in Illinois and in USEPA Region V to successfully transfer all transferable property (312 acres) for redevelopment and parkland. Significant work has been done to prevent contamination at the site from reaching Lake Michigan, including the removal of contaminated sediments and installation of shoreline erosion protection systems.

[Illinois Environmental Protection Agency]

By the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

  • $22,923,200 Lake Michigan Chicago shoreline protection repairs: Replace eight miles of outdated and inadequate shoreline protection structure, following design from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • $7,500 Illinois Beach cleanup: Contractual services for asbestos cleanup.

  • $1,700,000 aquatic nuisance species permanent electric dispersal barrier: Electric barrier to be placed in Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to reduce the risk of inter-basin transfer of non-desirable aquatic species between Mississippi River and Great Lakes.

  • $42,000 Great Lakes water level report study and publication: To be conducted by the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • $160,000 Cook County drainage network operation: Data collection used by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to account for diversion of water from Lake Michigan.

  • $100,000 per year geological mapping: Contribution to Central Great Lakes Geological Mapping Coalition for ongoing compilation of data.

  • $140,000 Internet Great Lakes Basin climate maps and data: Compile climate data for maps of the Great Lakes Basin.

  • $85,000 Waukegan river water quality improvements: Joint project with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, city of Waukegan and Waukegan Park District to improve quality of water feeding from Waukegan River into Lake Michigan.

  • $15,000 sediment core analysis and collection: Samples from North Point Marina and Waukegan Harbor Dredge Maintenance Area studied for suitability to use in Lake Michigan beach nourishment.

  • $5,000 establishment of Lake County stream monitoring stations: To study two tributary streams to Lake Michigan, affecting Illinois Beach.

  • $140,000 National Atmospheric Deposition Program: To monitor sulfate deposits in Lake Michigan Basin on a weekly basis.

  • $50,000 industrial site cleanup and wetland restoration: Lake Calumet watershed restoration of state-designated natural areas previously used by industry.

  • $250,000 groundwater study: Examination of northeastern Illinois groundwater availability and quality, including potential future demands on Lake Michigan.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources]

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