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 technologies;
» 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 forthcoming.

We look forward to your participation!