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10/21/20 Regional Flood Mitigation Meeting Summary

Regional Flood Mitigation Meeting Summary
October 21, 2020

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the City of Highland Park hosted a regional flood mitigation meeting, convening partner municipalities, state and federal elected officials, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC), the East Skokie Drainage District (ESDD), and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to provide updates to residents on various stormwater management projects.

Legislative updates from Congressman Schneider, Senator Morrison, and Representative Morgan included progress on including Lake County in Section 219 of the Water Resources Development Act, which designated specific geographic areas as eligible for assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers on environmental infrastructure projects. The effort to include Lake County has been a multi-year process and is currently on hold due to COVID-19. $5M in State of Illinois funding has been secured to support the Home Buy-Out program, although not yet disbursed. Lake County representatives also secured an additional $122M in capital commitment from the State for stormwater management.

The City reported on several initiatives to reduce flooding, including the installation of backflow preventers on specific storm sewer improvement projects, plans for a Targeted Area Study to address flood mitigation outcomes on four specific areas within the City, and ravine ecological restoration projects. In addition, the City highlighted work completed with partners, including the Park District of Highland Park (PDHP), SMC, ESDD, and ACOE. PDHP recently hosted a pre-construction meeting with SMC regarding an Illinois EPA grant-funded effort concerning north pond shoreline stabilization and riparian buffer, and vegetated swales as part of the conservation effort at the former site of the Highland Park Country Club golf course, now known as the Preserves of Highland Park.

The SMC and ESDD presented an overview of a major project to stabilize 5,075 linear feet along the east and west banks of the Skokie River in Lake Forest, immediately upstream from Highland Park. By stabilizing this section of the stream, the project will stop the source of erosion and sedimentation along the river. The ESDD, the SMC, and the City will also coordinate to clear obstructions from the channel and culverts to reduce flooding, with initial work benefitting the Taylor-Hilary area.

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission provided further detail on some of those projects, as well as an overview of county-wide mitigation efforts in other communities that will have a positive impact on the City, and funding opportunities specific to Highland Park. The East Skokie Drainage District addressed an upcoming project to produce a long-term plan to guide future activities, and the Army Corps of Engineers reviewed plans for a proposed study in Highland Park to identify specific, non-structural alternatives the City may consider to reduce flooding.

The City will coordinate a follow-up Regional Flood Meeting in April 2021. Details will be announced at The full meeting minutes and recording are now available on the City's website at