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Contact: Bruce Rowe, 219-395-1609
The National Park Service has released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the “Shoreline Restoration and Management Plan” (EIS) for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the plan recommends methods to remedy erosion and damage to the dunes and beaches of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes most of the beaches along Indiana’s shoreline from Trail Creek in Michigan City to U.S. Steel in Gary. As described in the final EIS, the shoreline in this area suffers from erosion that threatens national park resources, recreation opportunities, homes, industry, and businesses. The final EIS has been prepared to provide scientifically-based alternatives for the restoration of natural sediment movement along the southern shore of Lake Michigan within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. For the purpose of this plan the shoreline was divided into four sections (referred to as reaches) based upon sediment erosion and accretion. The final EIS evaluated seven possible alternatives for reaches 1 and 2, extending from Crescent Dune to Willow Lane, and four alternatives were evaluated for reaches 3 and 4, extending from Willow Lane to the City of Gary’s US Steel breakwater.
It was determined through the draft EIS process that all alternatives met park purposes and objectives, and were consistent with the legislative intent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, applicable NPS laws, policies, and regulations. New alternatives were developed due to substantive public comment on the draft EIS. The new preferred alternative for reaches 1 & 2 is a hybrid that incorporates aspects of multiple draft alternatives. This alternative, Alternative F, incorporates aspects of alternatives C-1, B-1, and E, providing for beach nourishment that incorporates natural small stones mixed with sand at the shoreline.
All draft alternatives for reaches 3 & 4 provided for beach nourishment differentiated by frequency (annual or every five years). Due to substantive public comment on nourishment frequency, the final alternative selected for reaches 3 & 4 was changed from Alternative C-5 (five year frequency) to Alternative C-1 (annual frequency).
Beginning September 12, 2014, a copy of the final EIS will be available in three different formats. It can be found online (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/indu), or CD of the document can be requested, as well as a limited number of hard copies, by contacting Ms. Florida Harris at 219-395-8585, ext. 1772.
The national lakeshore will host an informational meeting at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at 1215 North State Road 49 in Porter, Indiana, on September 15, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meeting will present the Final EIS, and provide a time for questions, but not comments, on the final document.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is part of the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.