$450M in Des Plaines River Projects Suggested to Curb Flooding

A new study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommends nearly $450 million worth of projects to limit flood damage, lower flood risks, and restore ecosystems along the Des Plaines River.

The recommendations include 27 projects along the Upper Des Plaines River in from Racine, Wis. to Riverside, Ill. and include the construction of levees, reservoirs, water pumps and other features to reduce flood damage.

The plan, released earlier this month, came after April’s devastating floods, which left several towns along the river in ruins.

Resident's of flood ravaged Forest View, where about 90 percent of the town was evacuated, compared their town to a war zone. It's an idea backed up by images of heavy machinery moving debris from place to place.

"It's unbelievable," said one homeowner near 46th street and Winona Avenue. "People have lost everything. Their personal belongings, their houses everything. It's just devastating."

If approved, the projects will reduce flood risk in communities across the watershed, providing approximately $6.8 million annual net economic benefits, according to a release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

One project calls for the construction of a flood wall and levee between Touhy Avenue and Miner street. The Ashland-Fargo levee would be 15 feet high and cost between $15 and $20 million to build.

The plan also proposes ecosystem projects that would restore 10,900 acres of native marsh, meadow, prairie, woodland, and forest habitats in the watershed.

“This report is unique in that it gives us the opportunity to look at the entire watershed from a holistic approach – allowing us to consider a variety of issues impacting the river and its tributaries,” Col. Frederic A. Drummond Jr., commander of the Chicago District, said in a statement.

Officials from the Army Corps presented their recommendations at a public meeting Monday in Mount Prospect and will also present them Tuesday in Libertyville and Wednesday in Bristol, Wis.

  • For details on public meetings click here.

Officials said they will accept public comments on the projects until Oct. 2.

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