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Proyecto de estabilización de la costa

Durante el fin de semana del 11 de enero, la costa de Chicago experimentó efectos devastadores por los niveles récord del lago junto con tormentas severas. Estas tormentas han derrumbado caminos frente al lago, derribado infraestructura e inundado áreas cercanas al lago. Aquí en Rogers Park, tuvimos la suerte de haber asegurado una instalación de estabilización de la costa de emergencia en tres de nuestras playas más vulnerables: las playas Rogers, Howard y Juneway. Quiero felicitar al Departamento de Transporte por su rápida instalación de estas protecciones críticas, que se pusieron a prueba durante el fin de semana. La instalación en Juneway resistió las intensas olas y pudo proteger eficazmente el parque de una mayor erosión, pero a Rogers y Howard no les fue tan bien. Originalmente, los planes para las playas Rogers y Howard incluían retener el acceso a la playa, pero el lago ha hablado y, debido al daño experimentado este fin de semana, el CDOT ha determinado que esto ya no es una posibilidad. Evaluaron todo después de la tormenta y para proteger las tierras públicas tanto como sea posible, es necesario instalar rip rap adicional donde experimentamos erosión.

La instalación de estabilización de la costa sigue siendo una solución temporal de emergencia, destinada a durar de 3 a 5 años, mientras que la congresista Schakowsky trabaja diligentemente con sus colegas en el Congreso y el Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército para asegurar los fondos necesarios para abordar toda la costa de Chicago. En el otoño de 2019, la congresista Schakowsky, el congresista Rush, el congresista Davis, el congresista Quigley, la congresista Kelly, el senador Durbin y el senador Duckworth presentaron una carta oficial solicitando el dinero para un plan a largo plazo. Como parte de este plan a largo plazo, las rocas blindadas de las playas Rogers, Howard y Juneway pueden reutilizarse para que sirvan como rompeolas para proteger nuestra costa y restaurar el acceso a las playas.

A continuación se muestra la declaración oficial del CDOT sobre la evaluación posterior a la tormenta del proyecto de estabilización de la costa:

“Durante la tormenta del 11 de enero de 2020, el nuevo revestimiento de rip rap de Juneway Beach funcionó bien, sin embargo, en las playas Rogers y Howard, donde tratamos de preservar algunas áreas de playa pequeñas según lo solicitado por la comunidad, observamos signos de erosión debido a la intensidad de la tormenta. Estamos en el proceso de agregar las áreas erosionadas al alcance actual y completarlas con piedra de armadura y rip rap adicional para mediados de febrero ".

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As a part of the study, the Army Corps will explore various measures that could be implemented along our shoreline to reduce coastal storm risks. These measures include the following:
 

  • Structural (e.g., breakwaters, seawalls, revetments, and groins)

  • Natural and Nature-based features (e.g., beach nourishment, submerged reefs, vegetation, ecologically enhanced structures)

  • Non-structural (e.g., floodproofing, flood warning plans, emergency evacuation plans)
     

As part of the NEPA scoping process, the Army Corps is seeking comments or concerns stakeholders have about potential impacts from the various measures that could be implemented. This could include impacts to various habitats, threatened and endangered species, or cultural, historical, and social resources. 

Our office has submitted preliminary feedback to the Army Corps for this critical study and has called for the following as they embark on this process: 

 

  • Commit to a robust community engagement process to allow Chicagoans to provide insight and feedback
    The 49th Ward was excluded from the 1994 Chicago Shoreline Storm Damage Reduction Project, which provided infrastructure and protections for just 8 miles of the City’s shoreline. In Rogers Park, private properties are located directly adjacent to the lake, which means they feel the impact of high lake levels and wave action on a much more intimate basis than other parts of the city that have public land barriers and other infrastructure (such as sea walls) to absorb or deflect wave impact. Residents are owed the opportunity to share their personal experiences and ideas to help inform the future of the shoreline.

     

  • Restore beach access to Juneway, Rogers, and Howard beaches and repurpose emergency revetments as breakwaters
    As Lake Michigan reached historically high levels in 2019, the Department of Transportation was able to secure emergency funding from FEMA to install armor rock revetments at Juneway, Howard, and Rogers beaches. The revetments were critical in curtailing further erosion of public property and keeping park property safe. However, the installation of revetments restricted access to what had previously been beaches. Rogers Park has a unique history of being the last affordable neighborhood on the north side with access to the lakefront. Roger Park residents have enjoyed this access for generations, offering a more quiet opportunity to enjoy our greatest natural asset. As USACE studies potential solutions for Chicago’s shoreline, I ask that you look at restoring beach access and repurposing the armor rocks to act as breakwaters.

     

  • Implement sustainable native, deep-rooted vegetation on the lakefront to combat erosion
    With a unique opportunity to shape the future of Chicago’s shoreline, we would like the Army Corps to explore sustainable options to combat erosion, such as planting marram grass or other native deep-rooted plants that have a track record of withstanding wave impact and mitigating the impacts of erosion. In the 49th Ward, a group of volunteers acts as stewards to the Loyola Park Sand Dunes. The natural vegetation abutting the lake proved resilient at the peak of Lake Michigan’s lake levels, with less damage at Loyola Park than at other parks to its north. In addition to providing a natural barrier to wave action, the plants help the ecosystem along Lake Michigan, allowing natural wildlife and insects to thrive. 

     

Please submit comments to Ms. Samantha Belcik. Comments and questions will be accepted through the end of February and can be directed via email to Ms. Belcik at ChicagoShoreline@usace.army.mil

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