Greenwood Beach, the Dog Beach and Lee Street Beach could receive cleaned sand dredged from Waukegan Harbor
Greenwood Beach, the Dog Beach and Lee Street Beach could receive cleaned sand dredged from Waukegan Harbor

Sand dredged from Waukegan Harbor could end up in Evanston, repairing the shorelines of three City beaches. Under a pilot project authorized under Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, 10 pilot projects were selected from around the country to explore innovative applications of beneficial use of dredged material.

The draft feasibility report  can be found at https://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works-Projects/Waukegan-Harbor-Dredging/

The report refers to a study conducted as a joint effort by the USACE Chicago District, Lake Bluff Park District, Foss Park District, Glencoe Park District and the City of Evanston that explores the feasibility of implementing a pilot project for the beneficial use of clean dredged material generated from operations and maintenance dredging at Waukegan Harbor.

The clean sand would provide shoreline protection and habitat creation at Sunset Park and Beach in Lake Bluff, Foss Park in North Chicago, Glencoe Beach in Glencoe, and three beaches in Evanston – the Dog Beach, Greenwood Beach and Lee Street Beach.  Fifteen thousand cubic yards of sand spread over the three beaches would improve about 2,000 linear feet of Evanston’s shoreline.

The pilot project proposal builds upon existing partnerships between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), coastal communities, and other stakeholders. Specifically, the Illinois Sand Management Working group is a network of elected officials and leaders from federal, state, and local organizations that collaborate on regionally-impactful and tangible approaches to public shoreline management.

Aspects of the study include the following:

  • Open Water or nearshore placement in the littoral zone to return it to the natural littoral drift system. Over time, wave action would be expected to disperse the material, moving it up onto beaches and other accretion areas. Placement in the open water or nearshore zone is accomplished using a split hull bottom dump scow.
  • Hydraulic dredging to allow the material to be piped directly to an upland placement site, rather than transported by barge. This measure is most applicable when the placement site is located in close proximity to the dredging area.
  • Hydraulic offloading for on-beach placement of dredged material, a measure that assumes the continued mechanical dredging onto a barge. However, the material would then be slurried and offloaded hydraulically via a pipeline. Hydraulic offloading allows for upland placement where the placement site is not located in close proximity to the dredging area.

Two measures, contouring the dredged material and adding native planting, were dropped  from the study. As now conceived, the pilot program would entail only transportation and placement of the dredged material. Costs of any measures beyond those, according to the study, would be shared at 65% federal and 35% non-federal expenses.