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June 5, 2000

Governor Ryan Applauds Agreement To Study Illinois River Restoration On Peoria Riverfront

PEORIA -- Governor George H. Ryan today applauded the formal agreement between the State of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launching an Illinois River environmental restoration study, focusing on the Peoria Lake area and the Peoria riverfront.

The cost-sharing agreement between the Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the $1.9 million study was signed today by Col. James V. Mudd, Rock Island District Commander, and IDNR Director Brent Manning, representing Governor Ryan, in ceremonies in Peoria hosted by Congressman Ray LaHood, who secured federal funding for the study.

"This study will help determine the best course of action to limit sediment deposits now flowing into Peoria Lake, as well as the most cost-effective and beneficial uses of sediment dredged from this vital recreational and transportation resource," Ryan said. "This partnership is another example of the wide support that exists for efforts to enhance and restore the Illinois River, and to further economic development efforts along the downtown Peoria riverfront."

The study will address two broad categories:

1.) River restoration measures to address sediments deposited in the lakes and improve aquatic habitats. Options include dredging to create islands and side-channels within the Upper and Lower Peoria Lakes; and, dredging with placement of sediment removed outside of the lakes, such as on brownfields or former mined lands, that would address historic sedimentation and restore some of the aquatic and terrestrial conditions to a less degraded condition.

2.) Watershed restoration measures to address current and future sediment delivery to the lakes. Options include implementing stream restoration on tributaries to Peoria Lake. Possible actions include reducing stream bed and stream bank erosion, slowing runoff rates, and providing land treatments such as buffers and grass waterways.

The study is a follow up to a 1998 Corps of Engineers report that recommended a more detailed feasibility study on means of reducing sedimentation, increasing water depth and improving habitat in the Peoria Lake area as it relates to downtown Peoria riverfront development.

State, local and federal officials attended the signing ceremony at the Gateway Center in Peoria, followed by a public open house at which the study and proposed alternatives for environmental restoration of the Illinois River were discussed.


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