Officials of Chicago Wilderness (CW) – a tri-state coalition of over 170 organizations and agencies – have long recognized the value of Lake Michigan to its institutional plans. Aside from its prominence as a natural feature, the lake ties together the metro regions of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. As such, CW has had an interest in complementing its 1999 Biodiversity Recovery Plan with a similar road map for Lake Michigan coastal recovery.
Informed by years of state, municipal and grassroots work to restore and protect habitats along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline, CW has taken a major step towards adopting plans for Great Lakes restoration along the urbanized and natural coasts of southeastWisconsin, Illinois, and northwest Indiana. In April, CW is hosting a members meeting to discuss the draft Lake Michigan Action Plan currently circulating within the coalition. After members have identified critical gaps and needs for the plan, public meetings aimed at municipalities and community members will continue through 2005, eventually culminating in official adoption of the Action Plan by CW.
The timing could not be better for the region. CW’s adoption of action steps for restoring Lake Michigan provides a natural connection between the well-organized greater Chicago conservation community and the ongoing Great Lakes Regional Collaborative charged with creating a strategy for Great Lakes restoration. In Illinois, the CW coalition will be able to inform the development of the state’s new coastal management plan under the federal Coastal Management Program. Mirroring the impact of CW’s work on terrestrial habitats in the Chicago region, this new commitment to the Great Lakes will provide a forum for partners in restoration to better coordinate coastal projects throughout the southern Lake Michigan basin.
For more information, contact Joel Brammeier at 312-939-0838×4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.