The Illinois River provides commerce, recreation, and environmental habitat for a major portion of the state of Illinois. However, the River has been filling with sediment for the past century to the point that few areas outside the main channel are more than two feet deep. The result is a significant decrease in recreational use and fish and wildlife populations.
John Marlin of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is one of the leaders in the Illinois Rivers 2020 effort to revive this river. One project element is looking at how to remove sediment from the Illinois River in a cost effective and safe manner. Study teams are investigating dredging and transport techniques, the quality of the sediment and a variety of potential uses. The removed sediment could be used to restore habitats such as islands and may prove suitable for use as landscaping soil, especially at strip mines and abandoned industrial sites near navigation channels.
Project cooperators include a number of divisions of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Scientific Surveys, the University of Illinois, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, numerous private companies, and a variety of federal, state, and local organizations.
Restoring the greatness of the Illinois River will provide recreational and economic opportunities for Illinois citizens and help make the state more attractive to potential employers and their workers. ISTC is proud to be part of this effort.