Standing Up for Illinois - Office of Lt Governor Pat Quinn

Economic Consequences of Excessive Sediments

Some may view sedimentation as solely an environmental problem, but, in fact, it has strong economic consequences as well. For many issues on the Illinois River, economic and environmental issues are inextricably linked together. The Illinois River Coordinating Council has been working to address these problems.

Sedimentation impacts commercial navigation, recreation opportunities, development of tourism opportunities, and decreases wildlife habitat. Consider that:

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commits a great deal of resources to removing sediment from the navigation channel, which is necessary for commercial barge traffic;

  • Sedimentation reduces storage capacity in the river, backwater lakes and floodplain, impacting drinking water supplies and flood storage capacity; and,

  • Wildlife-based recreation – including hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing – contributed $4 billion to Illinois’ economy in 2001, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey.
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