Read the full story from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
2020 marked Lake Michigan’s highest water level in 120 years, experts said, and climate variance makes future water levels challenging to predict. Coastal impacts are well-documented, but the effect of lake level rise on the area’s inland waterways is poorly understood. A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study examined how Lake Michigan’s rising levels affect water quality, flood control and invasive species management within the Chicago-area waterway system that connects the lake to Illinois, Indiana and the Mississippi River basin.
The study, led by civil and environmental engineering professor Marcelo Garcia and graduate student Dongchen Wang, focused on how lake-level rise influences the unique bidirectional flow of the Chicago-area waterway system – initiated by the engineered reversal of the Chicago River in 1900 – and its connection to the Calumet-area waterway subsystem situated along the Illinois-Indiana border.