Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling for the Restoration of the Calumet Marshes: Assessment of Runoff Scenarios

Yanqing Lian, George Roadcap, Mohamad Hejazi, Ximing Cai

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Lake Calumet is located south of Lake Michigan. It is a site of former landfills and abandoned industrial facilities, yet a place of economical and ecological significance for the future development of the area. The marshes surrounding Lake Calumet are ecologically significant to the Black-crowned Night Heron but the hydrology in the area has been greatly impacted by the large amount of landfilling and the constantly changing land use and drainage of the surrounding uplands. In order to save threatened species, to prevent ecosystem degradation, and recreate a local economic base, the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment has been leading community groups and other agencies to develop plans to restore the region to a recreational area. Millions of dollars will be invested for the effort.

To support the development plan for the Calumet Region to become an ecological park, hydrologic and hydraulic models have been developed for the region. These models serve as a basis for determining the best water management strategies for the Lake Calumet Cluster Sites and the adjacent open spaces, namely the Indian Ridge Marsh (IRM). An integrated hydrologic and hydraulic model was used to evaluate the hydrologic impacts of different remedial options proposed for the Cluster Sites and other upland properties in the marsh watersheds, and to assess the adequacy of the existing marsh outlets in terms of long-range ecological goals. This report evaluates six proposed management scenarios to cope with flooding and to establish a more suitable environment for Black-crowned Night Heron nests in the marsh areas by controlling water level fluctuations. For Black-crowned Night Heron nests, the maximum fluctuation is ten inches. Our study showed that diverting surface runoff from the Cluster Sites appeared to be the best option for limiting water level fluctuations to around six inches in the IRM.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Sustainable Technology Center
Commissioning bodyIllinois Sustainable Technology Center Sponsored Research Program ; HWR06-202
Number of pages50
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Publication series

NameISTC Research Report


  • ISTC


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