The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative SCA Corps Team was established as part of a grant funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The focus of the grant being “Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution”. The SCA GLRI Team is specifically working on the “Marquette Park Lagoon and Green Stormwater Management Initiative. The project extends from October 1, 2012 to February 1, 2014.
Currently the Marquette Park Lagoon is heavily impacted by sedimentation and nutrient loading due to runoff from the Miller Neighborhood of Gary. The storm sewers from this neighborhood are directed to the outfall that flows directly into the lagoon. As a result, stormwater runoff is a primary contributor to the eutrophication and sedimentation of the Marquette Park Lagoon.
To mitigate this issue, the SCA GLRI Team is partnering with the City of Gary Stormwater Management District, Northwestern Indiana Regional Development Authority, as well as the Purdue University Extension to implement various best management practices (BMPs) to decrease the amount of runoff that ends up in the lagoon. BMPs include harvesting rainwater in rain barrels, installing permeable pavers, planting native plant species, and constructing rain gardens, bioretention cells, and bioswales. A variety of BMPs will be installed in the 1,200 acre sub-watershed that contributes runoff to the lagoons via the storm sewer system. One quarter (300 acres) of this watershed contains a disproportionate amount of total impervious surface area that is directly connected to the storm sewer. This 300 acres will serve as the pilot area. The goal of the project is to capture nearly 63% of the runoff from this 300 acres, remove 44-50% of stormwater sediments, and 37-45% of phosphorus that is deposited in the Marquette Park lagoons from the pilot area.
The Marquette Park Lagoon consists of three interconnected lagoons, serves as the headwaters for the Calumet River, and is part of the greater Lake Michigan watershed.
As stated in the EPA GLRI grant, the GLRI Action Plan’s Long Term Goals for Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution include:
1. Reduce sedimentation and eutrophication to provide high quality habitat for native plant and animal populations.
2. Install stormwater BMPs on public properties and educate private citizens on BMPs in order to manage land use in the region to reduce impacts on the natural environment.
3. Reduce sedimentation and nutrient runoff into the Marquette Park lagoons by slowing overland flow in the urban area of Gary.
The GLRI Team will focus its efforts of implementing various BMPs in the 300 acre pilot area located in Miller Beach of Gary, Indiana. The Miller Beach community is located at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan, is a 30 mile commute to Chicago, and contains the western portion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.