Illinois Lake Michigan Implementation Plan (ILMIP)

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Illinois Lake Michigan Implementation Plan
Illinois Lake Michigan Watersheds
Illinois Lake Michigan Priority Issues
Lake Michigan Lakewide Action and Management Plan
Locate Watershed by Municipality or Zip Code
Funding Opportunities

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.


Overall ILMIP map.jpg
The Illinois Lake Michigan Implementation Plan (ILMIP) is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), 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. The ILMIP will be a shared vision that will inform funding decisions for coastal initiatives, including federal (e.g. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative), State (e.g. Illinois Coastal Zone Management Program (ICMP), and local environmental projects within the Illinois Lake Michigan watershed. This will result in improved prioritization and implementation of on the ground restoration projects in the Lake Michigan watershed and coastal zone. IDNR will leverage the power of open source technology, and the expertise of stakeholders, to develop the Implementation Plan through this wiki. The wiki, a web-based social networking platform, will be used by IDNR to:
  • empower a broader, more engaged, and demographically diverse stakeholder group,
  • provide a spatially nested framework that scales up to regional goals and down to on-the-ground/in-the-water implementation projects, and which
  • builds stronger partnerships through the sharing of best management practices, tools, and other resources.

Ultimately, this project will increase the number and diversity of stakeholders participating in Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) priorities, and provide information to the public that furthers LaMP goals.

The Illinois DNR is developing the ILMIP, which will become a state endorsed agenda for the restoration and protection of Lake Michigan coastal resources. Similar to the LaMP, it will be a collaboration aimed at achieving consensus about the goals and priorities for the management of a shared resource – the Illinois Lake Michigan coastline. The ILMIP will be an ecosystem based, adaptive management plan with a shared vision that guides funding allocations and environmental projects within the coastal management program boundaries and prioritizes Illinois Lake Michigan watershed projects. The Implementation Plan will be linked – both topically and spatially – to the LaMP via this wiki, allowing it to function as a tool for tracking the status of Illinois’ coastal projects, a reporting mechanism for a wide variety of public and private stakeholders, and as a networking opportunity to foster watershed-wide dialogues.


The Illinois Coastal Zone Management Program (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 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.

Regional Priority Issues

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

The ILMIP will include monitoring, treatment, and education efforts aimed at minimizing the adverse effects of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. 
Natural areas and open spaces can support healthy populations of native species and provide stopover habitat for migratory species. Cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries will facilitate regional land management goals.  Efforts will be made to link habitat via green corridors to the furthest extent possible.
Portions of the Chicago and Calumet Rivers in the Coastal Zone, the North Shore Channel, and Lake Calumet will see improvements in recreational use, including incidental contact, and improved ha 
The six beneficial use impairments of Waukegan Harbor will be remediated and the site will be delisted as an Area of Concern. Long-term management of the harbor and adjoining natural resource features will be supported.   
To protect health of people and wildlife, introduction of bio-accumulative toxins into Lake Michigan and adjoining waterways will be prevented.  Mitigation of existing sources of toxins will be supported. 
Strategies will be developed and support given for smart growth, low impact development, storm water management, and alternative resource use.
Support for initiatives to protect ground water, surface water, and the health of the public and wildlife will be provided so that resources are free of threats from non-point source pollution.,  
Access to Illinois coastal areas will be enhanced by support for improving access to beaches, open lands, and open waters.  Interconnectivity between avenues of public access will be improved. 
Coastal dependent economic activities, from tourism t that are appropriate to location will be aided. Water-related transportation growth will be done in an environmentally conscious manner. 
Support will be given to flexible management plans that take into account the best available data and projections of climate change effects. Assistance in implementing best practices that anticipate potential harms to coastal infrastructure will be emphasized.

ILMIP Resources