Great Lakes
Steven Kevil / Wikimedia Commons

Coastal Management Program Targets Lake Michigan Beaches

A state program designed to protect the Lake Michigan shoreline is adding a new category this year aimed at helping Chicago-area communities preserve their beaches.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for grants between $1,000 and $100,000 as part of its 2019 Coastal Management Program, which provides funding for a number of initiatives, such as combating invasive species and coastal erosion, and increasing public access to the lake’s coastline.

This year’s program will for the first time include funding to help protect and enhance beaches along the lake, which are shrinking and could face additional erosion related to the effects of climate change.

“Beyond their economic impact and recreational opportunities, beaches provide habitat for sensitive species, serve as a buffer along the shoreline against wind and waves and play a big role in nearshore water quality,” IDNR wrote in its notice of funding opportunity for the grant program, noting that thousands of visitors enjoy Lake Michigan beaches each year. “We recognize that healthy beaches are essential for a healthy coast.”

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