Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants - $696,380
Attracting New Federal Funding (PDF)
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has been awarded two Federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants for work that will benefit the environment and the economy of Millennium Reserve. The first award will provide $396,380 for Greencorps Chicago (GC), which is the City of Chicago’s green job training program. Greencorps will work on invasive species control at 15 sites in Millennium Reserve. GC trainees earn a wage while receiving valuable classroom and field experience plus assistance finding permanent employment.
The second grant for $300,000 will support the expansion of ‘Green Infrastructure’ projects in seven south suburban communities. Green Infrastructure uses natural approaches such as rain gardens to reduce flooding impacts and enable greater infiltration of stormwater. The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association will play a key role in identifying priorities in each community.
Chicago Park District Projects - $200,000
Investing in Partners’ Lands (PDF)
Using federal funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, IDNR is investing $200,000 in the Chicago Park District’s efforts to improve two important sites for habitat and recreation within Millennium Reserve.
The Chicago Park District acquired Big Marsh and Hegewisch Marsh in 2011, comprising two parcels totaling over 400 acres of natural wetlands near Lake Calumet. These sites are critical locations for wetland bird populations in the region. Funding will support studies and designs for water control structures necessary to provide habitat and support nesting for rare birds like the Black-crowned Night Heron, which draw many birders to this area.
Recreational Investments - $5.1 million
Investing in Outdoor Recreation (PDF)
The State of Illinois is using more than $5 million in federal grant dollars to invest in recreational opportunities within the Millennium Reserve. The federally funded Illinois Transportation Enhancements Program (ITEP) has awarded $4.7 million to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to construct new sections of the Cal-Sag Trail and Thorn Creek Trail. When complete the Cal-Sag Trail will be a 30-mile paved, multi-use trail that will connect the Village of Burnham to the Village of Lemont along its namesake waterway. It will also connect with the planned Burnham Greenway trail. The recent funding award pays for construction of the trail between Rte. 83 near Lemont to 86th Ave. in Palos Park. The Thorn Creek Trail project connects an existing forest preserve trail loop. Both projects are important connections in a nearly 100-mile loop of trails throughout the Southland.
Another $600,000 in Federal Coastal Program funding is being invested in expanding fishing opportunities for youth. The program is designed to get youth interested in fishing, outdoor recreation, and potential career paths in related fields. The program will include professional fishing instruction at schools within Millennium Reserve, fishing equipment, and opportunities to fish within the Chicago region.
William Powers Visitor Center - $900,000
Investing in IDNR Lands in the Calumet Region (PDF)
Over $900,000 is being invested to establish a new visitor center at William Powers State Recreation Area, which will officially open this spring. This exciting, contemporary facility will orient visitors to the area with a set of exhibits engaging adults and children with the natural features and human history of Wolf Lake. Meeting facilities will provide a valuable resource for groups and partners in the Calumet region.