Last site visit under the Great Lakes Inspection Tour

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District has wrapped up the Great Lakes Inspection Tour (GLINT) with visits to Greenwood Beach in Evanston, Illinois.

The Greenwood scheme is part of the WRDA Section 1122 beneficial use of dredged material pilot project.

Under the pilot program, the materials dredged from Waukegan Harbor, Illinois, will be used to provide public beach protection to the coastal communities.

Four Illinois coastal communities – City of Evanston, Glencoe Park District, Lake Bluff Park District, and Foss Park District of North Chicago – worked together in partnership with USACE to develop this pilot project – the only one in the Great Lakes region.

The purpose of the tour is to engage local, state and federal senior leaders and develop strategic partnerships with a focus on improving Great Lakes coastal resiliency.

The 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a national law, directs the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to identify ten pilot projects for the beneficial use of material removed from regular maintenance of federally-authorized ports, harbors, and navigation channels. This reflects a growing national interest in using clean dredged material, such as lake sand, in a more sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Lake sand moves into ports and harbors by wave action. Before the sand can continue its natural course along the lakefront, it can be trapped by manmade structures and natural features.

USACE annually dredges clean sand from the Waukegan Harbor Approach Channel. The sand moves into the channel and prevents safe navigation, especially by large commercial ships.

In the past, USACE has placed the sand south of the harbor in Lake Michigan, where it often does not reach sandstarved shorelines where it is most needed.

This project instead places the clean material on to the beach, where it can enhance recreation, maintain lakefront access, and improve habitat. In the past, communities have had to purchase and truck sand in from quarries, a costly and unsustainable process.

Photo: USACE