Illinois Coastal Management Program

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This page is a work in progress and not the final ILMIP product. The content on this page does not necessarily represent the views of IDNR and the project partners.

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Overview

In November 2004, Illinois announced it would seek application into the National Coastal Zone Management Program. A total of 29 coastal states and five island territories have developed CZM programs representing more than 99.9 percent of the nation's 95,331 miles of oceanic and Great Lakes coastline.

Illinois Lake Michigan Watersheds
On January 31, 2012, the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP) received Federal approval from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management. Illinois joins a total of 29 coastal states and five island territories that have developed CZM programs and represent more than 99.9 percent of the nation's 95,331 miles of oceanic and Great Lakes coastline.

Illinois is dedicated to protecting and managing the natural and cultural resources along our magnificent 63 mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline. During the last two centuries, Illinois’ coast has undergone nearly a complete metamorphosis with its monumental hydrologic modifications, enormous industrial impacts, building of an excellent transportation infrastructure, and creation of skyscrapers that grace our shoreline. With all these changes, it is remarkable that our coastal resources still contain some of the richest, rarest and most diverse complex of plant and animal species and natural habitat areas in the state.

Our shoreline is highly urbanized and has been subject to considerable stress from intense land use and competition to serve the economic and workforce needs and demands of this densely populated area. Lake and Cook counties are currently home to 6 million people and are projected to be home to nearly 6.8 million people by 2030. It is estimated that more than 20 million visitors visit the Lake Michigan shoreline each year. Illinois Beach State Park alone has over 2 million visitors annually. Lake Michigan provides water supply to nearly 7 million Illinois residents (over half of the state’s entire population).

The environmental legacy of our industrial sites and the needs and demands of a growing and vibrant urban community create a complex set of issues to balance as we invest in programs that seek to restore our ecosystems and meet the increasing demands for open space, recreation, and public access.

The ICMP includes small portions of the Pike-Root Watershed that stretches into Wisconsin, the Little Calumet-Galien watershed that stretches into Indiana, and the Chicago River waterway. The ICMP area, with the exception of the Chicago River waterway, flows to Lake Michigan. The plan will be the local implementation planning program for the Lake Michigan Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP).

The shoreline is highly urbanized and has been subject to considerable stress from intense land use and competition to serve the economic and workforce needs and demands of this densely populated area. Lake and Cook counties are currently home to 6 million people and are projected to be home to nearly 6.8 million people by 2030. It is estimated that more than 20 million visitors visit the Lake Michigan shoreline each year. Illinois Beach State Park alone has over 2 million visitors annually. Lake Michigan provides water supply to nearly 7 million Illinois residents (over half of the state’s entire population).

The environmental legacy of industrial sites and the needs and demands of a growing and vibrant urban community create a complex set of issues to balance as ecosystem restoration strategies are developed and meet the increasing demands for open space, recreation, and public access.

The boundaries for the ICMP are found here.

Coastal Management Program Priorities

The ICMP will initially focus on efforts to address the following program areas which are also outlined in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. The ICMP will describe desired outcomes, prioritize strategies for achieving them, and suggest site specific projects:

How Can the ICMP Benefit Coastal Communities? 

Illinois is eligible to receive approximately $2 million per year, which will fund a grants program to implement local projects. Local and state agencies and non-profit organizations would be eligible to apply for and receive funds. A few examples of how other States/communities have used these funds include:

  • low-cost construction projects such as dune walkovers and boat launches
  • planning and creation of beach access points
  • reinvigorating economically depressed waterfront areas
  • preventing and monitoring beach erosion
  • providing technical assistance on shore protection and bluff stabilization
  • providing assistance for local planning in coastal areas

The types of activities that can be funded are broadly defined and will be left to the creativity of state and local governments and organizations, as long as the goals of the ICMP are addressed and the projects occur within the ICMP Boundary.