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Priority Area: Chicagoland
Chicagoland, including the Little Calumet-Galien, Pike-Root, and Chicago River watersheds.
PROBLEMS: High potential for Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species to enter via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC); significant pollution problems and habitat loss have caused 14 beneficial use impairments — including contaminated sediments, damage to fish and wildlife and degraded plankton populations — in the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern and Waukegan Harbor Area of Concern. Bacterial pollution often forces the closure of Lake Michigan beaches in the area and noxious algae blooms contribute to taste and odor problems in drinking water.
RESTORATION OPPORTUNITIES: Removing contaminated sediments and reducing ongoing pollution will improve water quality and fish habitat; preventing the introduction of invasive species via the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal would help protect ecosystem integrity in the rivers and the Great Lakes; and restoring nearshore habitat could benefit wildlife and birds, including the federal endangered piping plover, which nests at the nearby Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.