The urban nearshore zone and riverine areas are places where many of the
region's people first interact with the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, this nearshore
zone of over 17,000 kilometers is heavily stressed by habitat alterations associated
with increasing populations, heavy industry, commercial navigation, and pollution.
Historical patterns of economic development and overexploitation of nearshore
areas in the Great Lakes region have disproportionately impacted the nearshore.
It should be no surprise that a strong demand exists for improved water quality,
enhanced nearshore habitats and restoration of beneficial uses in urban areas.
Despite the immense importance of the nearshore region and the major economic
return it provides, scientists and policymakers know very little about how
and why problems emerge in the nearshore or how to mitigate them. This lack of
information makes proposals for restoration projects in urban nearshore areas less
attractive to decision makers and causes them to suffer from a resulting lack of
funding. Restoration of nearshore urban habitat has also been neglected because the
work is expensive and diffi cult to undertake.
While signifi cant funding is available for restoring urban nearshore and riverine
areas through existing programs at all levels of government, improved
collaboration among agencies and stakeholders is essential to provide a higher
level of service to urban nearshore areas. Many projects relevant to urban nearshore
restoration are underway throughout the basin. Through this symposium, we intend
to share technical knowledge, coordinate these existing efforts to maximize the
effectiveness of work being done, and improve attendees’ ability to defi ne what
comprises a successful urban restoration project.
The Chicago Park District, in cooperation with several agencies involved in Great
Lakes restoration, is proud to convene a major symposium aimed specifi cally
at restoration in the urban nearshore. Scientists, planners, policymakers, and other
experts will gather to:
» Share the results of workshops held prior to the symposium;
» Review methods for urban habitat restoration and share techniques and
» Exchange progress on similar efforts;
» Network with other professionals involved in restoration;
» Discuss ways to make restoration projects more cost effective; and
» Develop methods to communicate the benefi ts of urban nearshore
restoration to the public, decision-makers and the scientifi c community.
The symposium, which will occur over a day and a half, will consist of plenary
sessions and breakout groups designed to investigate restoration issues in
detail. Specifi c questions to guide discussions, along with a detailed agenda, is
We look forward to your participation!