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Army Corps of Engineers Presents Findings from Preliminary Flood Mitigation Study

Highland Park, Illinois – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) presented the draft results from their Preliminary Flood Mitigation Study for the Skokie River and Middle Fork River to representatives from the five participating communities. Evaluation of two potential reservoir sites indicated that they would not produce enough flood risk reduction to warrant further consideration. 

The preliminary study began in October 2018 and entailed hydraulic modeling and economic analysis for the entire watershed area of the two rivers – the Skokie River and Middle Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River.  Specifically, USACE evaluated a 130 acre-foot storage basin at the Highland Park Country Club for the Skokie River and a 250 acre-foot storage basin at Half Day Road Prairie for the Middle Fork. According to USACE, the economic benefits of the storage basins are extremely unlikely to outweigh the costs. A report will be released within the next few months which will summarize USACE economic evaluations and data related to the findings of the Preliminary Flood Mitigation Study. The USACE final report could be used to pursue flood mitigation grants and other alternative measures to alleviate localized flooding. In addition other opportunities to reduce flood risk could be evaluated to determine if they are more cost effective.

“We are disappointed with the results of the preliminary study and will continue to push for a solution that will bring much needed flood mitigation to residents living along the rivers,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “It is long overdue to find a solution that prevents the serious flooding that continues to impact the region. We will continue to work with the Army Corps., Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC), East Skokie Drainage District, neighboring municipalities, and Federal officials for opportunities to collaborate and work together for flood mitigation solutions.”

The City continues to work with Lake County SMC to pursue the Voluntary Buyout Program to eligible owners of homes located in a floodway, floodplain, or subject to severe damage from flooding. The program is funded in part by Federal Emergency Management Agency grants which are used to purchase eligible homes at fair market value. Homes purchased through the Voluntary Buyout Program are demolished and the floodplain property is returned to open space. To learn more about this program, please visit www.lakecountyil.gov/3973/Flood-Information-and-Programs.

Residents should continue to contact U.S. Representative Brad Schneider at https://schneider.house.gov/contact or 847.383.4870 with questions and concerns.

Regular updates about the City’s flood mitigation work can be found on the City website at www.cityhpil.com/flooding.