In honor of Earth Month, Governor Pat Quinn today visited a volunteer clean-up of Chicago's Oak Street Beach to announce a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the Millennium Reserve-Calumet region. The projects will be funded through the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP), which was formed in 2012 by Governor Quinn to protect Illinois' 63-mile Lake Michigan shoreline. Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
"There is no better way to celebrate Earth Month than working to keep Illinois clean and safe for future generations," Governor Quinn said. "These investments will help protect and preserve the Lake Michigan shoreline - one of Illinois' most valuable natural resources."
Governor Quinn today also urged people across Illinois to enjoy Earth Month by getting outdoors and volunteering for beach clean-ups and other activities. Today's announcement was made at a beach clean-up that involved hundreds of volunteers organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which has been planning Illinois beach clean-ups since 1991. For more information on volunteer opportunities visit: Serve.Illinois.gov and dnr.illinois.gov/outreach/VolunteerOpportunities.
"Not only will these projects help protect and restore critical habitat along Lake Michigan, but they will help educate the next generation of conservationists and naturalists that will continue the mission," Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) said. The Illinois Coastal Management Program, administered by IDNR, is dedicated to protecting, restoring and managing natural resources along our shoreline and contributing to the long-term development of our region. Established in 2012, Illinois' Coastal Management Program joins 29 coastal states and five island territories that have developed Coastal Management programs to collaborate with communities in protecting our coastal regions. The ICMP Coastal
Grants are federally funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Last year, in its inaugural round of funding, the program invested more than $700,000 in 12 projects that have already paid dividends for our shoreline. For example, a thousand Chicago Public School students learned why and how to remove invasive buckthorn; Lake County high school students learned ravine conservation techniques; and the voices of 200 students were strengthened at the 17th Annual Chicago River Student Congress where they shared ideas and worked on water quality monitoring experiments.