Chicago Harbors – Status Update
A meeting of the Chicago Harbor Advisory Council, hosted by the Chicago Park District (CPD) was held on February 25 at Northerly Island. The purpose was to update Chicago Harbor System boaters on important issues affecting them in this area of Lake Michigan. Very briefly, the issues touched on were:
● The CPD is buying a forklift and next season will offer winter storage of boats up to 50 feet at Montrose (mast up) and DuSable (mast down). Capacity of 300 boats at each site.
● The CPD will be purchasing a new tender fleet at all harbors.
● Floating washrooms will be installed at several harbors, yet to be named.
● New Harbor: Gateway Harbor ( just south of Navy Pier). Set to open in 2011 and to accommodate both transient and seasonal boats. This harbor will provide much-needed slips for transients and will include full facilities, including washer/dryers for visitors.
● New Harbor: 31st Street. Set to open 2012. This harbor will one day offer indoor winter storage.
● Because Chicago has not signed onto the “Clean Marina” program popular in other states, the CPD will be developing its own program, the “Green Harbors Initiative”, and it intends to commit significant resources to the effort. There will be increased enforcement aginst fuel spills at refueling facilities and unauthorized pumping of contaminated bilge water.
● Asian Carp. Various regulatory authorities are devoting resources to prevent the spread of Asian Carp into Lake Michigan. Although many political entities and interest groups are pressing for a permanent shutdown of the lock systems, the CPD representative believes that total closure unlikely, but believes that lock openings will soon be severely limited. Additionally, increased efforts to prevent fish escape during openings will include stepped-up electrical protection, gill nets, increased fishing and increased use of species-targeted poisons.
It is my intention to pass along future information concerning these and other issues that will affect the boating experience of Chicago harbor system users. (Chicago harbors include: Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, DuSable, Monroe, Burnham and Jackson Park.)
Port Captain (Monroe Harbor)