Chicago Lakefront Wetlands Moving Toward Reality

Chicago Lakefront Wetlands Moving Toward Reality

For over a year, the Lake Michigan Federation has been working to achieve a dream: urban lakefronts that include fish and wildlife habitat. Last month the Federation took a giant step toward reaching that dream when the Chicago Park District agreed to work toward creating and enhancing shoreline wetlands.

The Federation’s vision parallels the city’s plans to overhaul the lakefront from Museum Campus to the South Shore Cultural Center at 71st Street. The northern half of this stretch, called “Phase One,” has been in the planning stage since early last year. On January 5, the Federation was the only organization to testify before the Park District on the plan.

Denise Marx, co-chair of the Federation’s Lakefront Task Force, presented testimony that secured a resolution from Park District Board President Michael Scott to work to include wildlife in the plan, especially wetlands. According to Marx: “Few other cities in the U.S. recognize that cities filled with people can also be filled with wildlife. We believe that the city of Chicago has the people, leadership, and ethic to recognize that it could be the top city in the U.S. for waterfront habitat.”

The effort won praise from colleagues. According to Alan Anderson of the Chicago Audubon Society, “the achievement of including habitat in the plan was almost exclusively through the work of LMF. I would like to personally thank the Federation for its work to include fish, birds, bird habitat, and bird migration protections in the plan.”

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.