Project will link lakes to restore marsh, reduce flooding

September 20, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Work is getting underway to connect two lakes along the Illinois and Indiana border — a project that will one day restore wetlands, reduce flooding and allow fish to travel between Lake Michigan and marshland on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

Powderhorn Lake was built in the 1950s, primarily for fishing, and is part of the Cook County forest preserves. Through human engineering, it will be connected to Wolf Lake, which spans across the two states and eventually connects to Lake Michigan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

More than 100 acres of wetlands stand to benefit from the project. It’s a collaboration between the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Audubon Great Lakes, Great Lakes Commission and the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and part of an effort to protect or restore more than 250,000 acres in the next decade.

Olga Bautista is executive director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, which works to prevent pollution and protect public health in the industrialized Calumet region, where Powderhorn Lake is located.

She hopes work to reduce water levels will alleviate flooding for residents living between Powderhorn and Wolf lakes.

“When something like that happens in their neighborhood, it’s catastrophic for folks,” Bautista said.