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Great Lakes Article:

Ravine work brings hope for shorelines
By Andrew Schroedter
Illinois Pioneer Press

Officials say the completion of a ravine stabilization project near the Glencoe Beach will lead to less sediment run-off into Lake Michigan, where high levels of bacteria and other pollutants have been a growing concern in past years.

The project, touted as the first of its kind in the area, will hopefully lead to an increased awareness about the threat that erosion poses to the lake, said state Sen. Susan Garrett, D-29th.

"What we're trying to do is restore the shoreline," Garrett said.

"By restoring it, it really effects the water quality. When the ravines come apart, more storm water comes into the lake and sewers and causes serious problems."

The origin of most natural ravines in the area are similar to the one under construction at 81 Lakewood Drive in that they were carved out of the soft earth by melting glaciers more than a thousand years ago.

But fast forward to today and the idyllic image that comes to mind of water purling through the ravine's gentle nooks and crannies is in serious jeopardy.

The result has been an environmental nightmare, Garrett said, as more and more area beaches close during the summer months for days or weeks at a time because of high levels of E-coli bacteria and other pollutants in the water.

Erosion of the ravines are not the only source, but officials believe that stabilizing its banks will reduce run-off, known to carry high levels of pollution.

Shabica & Associates Inc., a Northfield-based coastal consulting firm, have already begun working at the Glencoe ravine near Lakewood Drive and hopes to have 75 feet of its banks shored up in about two weeks.

Funding for the project was made possible through a $33,000 grant from the Michigan-based Great Lakes Commission, and Garrett says she hopes more area restoration projects will follow.

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