October 9, 2015

Volunteers and Gary Sanitary District workers doubled the size of the rain garden at the entrance to Marquette Park, adding lots of Butterfly Weed, Coreopsis, and sedges.

In case you didn’t know or just forgot, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management recommends you don’t eat fish from the Grand Calumet River.

Autumn colors are slow in arriving. Naturalists think peak color is still a week or two away.

Cady Marsh Ditch is due for a major clearing. Lake County, Indiana officials are near commencing a 90-day project to clear fallen trees, sediment, and large debris between Colfax Street in unincorporated Calumet Township and Cline Avenue in Griffith.

Petitions filed by two Illinois public officials to halt the proposed Singleton Quarry near Lowell, Indiana will receive a hearing from the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication. U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-2) and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are hoping to halt the project until concerns over the impact of the quarry on the Illinois side of the Kankakee River are considered. The congresswoman is asking the EPA to assume jurisdiction of the project. The quarry will pump anywhere from 12-52 million additional gallons of water a day into Singleton Ditch, which is the largest source of sediment flow into the Kankakee River. Sediments entering the river in Indiana are responsible for severe flooding in Illinois. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has opposed the project. And Indiana State Senator Rick Neimeyer (R-6), whose district includes the proposed quarry, has expressed concern over the bi-state impact. The petition will be heard on November 5, and at a pre-hearing on October 26.

On Tuesday the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission unanimously upheld the decision by the Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Board to deny a liquor license for a proposed banquet center at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Meanwhile, the opposition group Dunes Action had teamed up with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Izaak Walton League of America and are corresponding with other state and federal entities over potential violations of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.

Twelve trees removed during sewer work at Chautauqua Park Basin in Valporaiso, Indiana last year will be replaced by twenty-six new trees, just in time for NeighborWoods Month.

The mayor of Michigan City, Indiana has appointed a committee of federal, state, and local officials to study ways to improve safety at the lighthouse pier. This comes in response to a drowning during a heavy storm in mid-September.

Hoosier Bear is back! And once again, a Michigan City honey-farm was his target.

The NWI Times ran a story early this week about a lucky Great Horned Owl. Late this summer volunteers at Oak Prairie County Park in Griffith, Indiana found the owl entangled in a soccer net. According to the report, this is the second owl spotted at Oak Prairie, and one of nine species found in Indiana. Bruised but not broken, the owl took a week of R+R at the Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Valparaiso, Indiana. On September 8 the owl was released back to the park.

This week in human-deer interactions:

In Chicago, Illinois, Friends of the Parks has filed an amended complaint against the ground lease agreement between the Chicago Park District and the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The group argues the agreement, concerning a part of Lake Michigan filled in the 1920s, today two parking lots between Soldier Field and the McCormick Place, violates the public trust of a free and open lakefront in the city. The next court hearing is November 10.

In honor of a late DuPage County Forest Preserve biologist, a Naperville, Illinois Eagle Scout raised $5,600 to stock Herrick Lake with more than 3000 hybrid bluegill.

Butterfield Creek 1, Flossmoor, Illinois homeowner 0. Local officials aren’t certain how to help a resident who’s lost 5 feet of his backyard to the usually gentle stream.

The Forest Preserve District of Will County and the Lockport Township Park District both received large parcels from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for $1.

Waukegan, Illinois has a love-hate thing with its dune-and-swale it seems. The same week it was announced the city would receive a $1.5 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant for dune and swale restoration it was also announced the city received a citation from the Army Corps of Engineers for removing two dunes at a city beach.

Finally this week, big cheers to the community organizing in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, which after nearly a decade of struggle has resulted in the EPA finally acting to remove lead-poisoned soils from property near Benito Juarez High School. Sadly none of this is acknowledged in the EPA report.



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