The goals of the Village of Worth and Life safety Committee are.
1) To ENSURE that the area known as the Lucas Berg Nature Preserve is not utilized by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as a repository for contaminated dredge material from the Cal Sag project and premote its removal from the USACE's list of placement property forever.
2) To PROTECT the fragile ecosystem, flaura and fauna that have since developed at Lucas Berg after 30 years of neglect by the USACE. The Lucas Berg hosts an abundance of fish and wildlife in a wetland that are currently not protected or recognized by the USACE, they will certainly be destroyed should we fail.
3) To PROTECT the safety of the people of the Village of Worth by insisting to the USACE that all protective measures and tools be included in the analysis of this site for use ,while exposing the chemical and biological dangers that contaminants will pose. We insist on the highest level of testing, protections and scientific research.
4) To COMMUNICATE our findings and research with the Worth Village Board and community, suggest courses of action and lobby the USACE for the release of Lucas Berg from the site selection process.
5) To SUGGEST alternate locations and processes ,further away from populated areas, to the USACE in an effort to lessen the possibility of Lucas Berg being selected.
6) To PARTNER with local and federal political representation, suggest legislation, and promote the use of Lucas Berg for recreational, environmental and aestitically pleasing activities open to all people to enjoy.
7) To ACT as stewards of this beautiful land, seek out grants, appropriations and funding that will be used to promote ecology and environmental science within the preserve upon our success.
Come one come all! Its that time of the year to lend a hand in cleaning up our favorite local Nature preserve....The Lucas Berg!
Come on out and get a little dirty, have some fun and see the wildlife all while lending a hand (and some elbow grease) to beautify our local area of need. The Lucas Berg clean up starts at 0900 and goes to 1200 on Saturday May 11 2013. Rain or shine we are out by 9. Refreshments and Ataboys will be provided by the Life Safety Committee and Village leadership at high noon. Come out and lend a hand to keep this green space one of the most beautiful on the Southwest side!
Greetings to all-
Indeed it has been quite some time since our last update. There have been some new developments and changes in the scope of the fight to save Lucas Berg. There are potential threats to the location from other sources. I’m sure it has been a very busy summer for all of us but I'd like to take a moment to bring everyone up to speed on trends and current events.
Recent reports in the news media indicate that there is a push to " clean up" the Chicago area waterway system. Recently we have seen politician after politician heralding the days when we will eat fish from the river, swim in federal waterways and kayak or canoe down the beautiful and crystal clear highway of water (this of course assumes that we are not eaten by 300 lb. Asian carp in the process.). This possibility, at first glance appears to be a wonderful idea that could provide a severely degraded waterway system the chance to sustain an emerging ecosystem, support waterborne recreation and eventually be suitable for swimming.
As noble as this goal may appear, it seems that there are a few misconceptions about the actual processes required to accomplish this incredible task and what quantum changes would have to occur in our infrastructure to allow a true " clean up". First we should realize that what we call " the river" is actually 75% reconstituted human waste. You will not hear that from the media or politicians as they describe us eating fish from the Chicago River. Our entire sanitary system depends on discharge of effluent into the waterway and on dilution of the sanitary discharge by mixing it with river water. As the MWRD has stated " Dilution is the solution"
In order to clean up the river our entire sanitary system would need to be modernized. A huge and quite expensive undertaking. The tax burden on individual households would be excessive. In addition to the required structural changes in our sanitary treatment works is the process of chemically treating the effluent discharge in order to make it harmless. This method of chemical treatment will also cost incredible amounts of tax dollars. Chemical treatment of the effluent could feasibly render the discharge harmless to humans but will, of course may kill all the marine life. Clean water but well no fish, shellfish or small organisms for them to feed on. It could take 20 years for the water chemistry to reboot to a point where fish could reproduce again. Currently Bass, Catfish, Bluegill and many more propagate in the fragile but biologically stable environment. Regardless of what we are hearing in the media, it will take many years for the potential adverse effects of water treatment to be explored by the EPA, MWRD and Federal Government. Once the studies are complete Congress will need to figure out how to pay for the project (That is, how we will pay).
The single most important misconception related to cleaning up the waterway system is the complete disregard for what lay at the bottom of the waterways. Imagine your bathtub with 6 inches of scum covering the bottom. Now lets pour bleach in the water and let it sit for a few days. The water over the scum looks clear as day and quite inviting but as you know the tub is no cleaner than it was a few days ago. One swish through the bottom scum and your tub is filthy again. My point is that without removing the layers of chemically toxic sediment at the bottom of the waterways we are not actually cleaning anything.
Lets take it a step further with the bathtub analogy. Now you have decided to remove the scum from the bottom of the tub in order to really do it right. You begin by draining the tub right? Unfortunately this is not possible with the river. In order to remove the contaminates they will need to dredge. Dredging is a nasty business and in no way does it completely remove the contaminates. It actually suspends them and makes them mobile via water currents similar to grains of sand through your fingers. Once mobile they will deposit themselves everywhere along the canal and waterways, volatilize into the air and become bio available in the food chain. When they spread into the food chain fish will ingest them, birds eat the fish, the birds leave droppings on our gardens and there we are. A good majority of fish will die in the waterways. It will take many, many years for the waterways to recover.
I was at the site on the Cal sag last year when the ILEPA poisoned the waterway looking for Asian Carp. I saw hundreds of thousands of dead fish. It was just not right. Not one Asian Carp found. They have repeated this poisoning and oxygen depletion process several times now. The fish carcasses littered the shore in the thousands. Birds ate them along with the frogs and turtles. Soon after, many birds were found dead by my crew. This is the picture of what it will take to " clean the waterways". I do not think you will hear that part of the story from the media. They were kept out of my part of the project site then. Ill attach a picture for you to see how bad it was below.
My point for illustrating the above event is that in order to clean up the waterways it will be necessary to destroy the emergent ecosystems that currently exist. This is no small task and if pushed forward will need many years of study, planning and weighing of consequence. Our other connection to this issue is the fact that a home for all the millions of cubic yards of scum (dredged material) will need to be found. There are those on the Life Safety Committee that are convinced that the Lucas Berg will be used to store a portion of that sediment.
I cannot completely disagree with that possibility but contend that a vessel with adequate storage for the amount of sediment that will be produced by a project of such magnitude does not exist to date and it would not be in the interest of the Federal Government to place this material anywhere near peoples homes. It would require 100 Lucas Bergs to store all the material that is contaminated. With that said, I do not see a clean up operation commencing that would involve Lucas Berg in any way. I also do not believe that this project will move forward anytime in the foreseeable future. If indeed the Clean up related dredging project moves forward it will not be managed by the USACE. The Federal EPA would have to be the primary stakeholder in such a complicated remediation of a federal waterway as was the case on the Delaware River remediation project.
We are still concerned with the potential for the Corps to dump sediment produced by local navigation projects into Lucas Berg. Most recent communications with Political support and the Corps have revealed that they have eliminated several of the alternates that were identified pursuant to Congressman Lipinski's request. We are now on the short list of choices. The Congressman has assured us that he has been diligent in defending our site and he is meeting with the Corps regularly to check status of the project. Because of the sensitivity of the decision making process the Corps will not release the names of the alternates as illustrated in recent FOIA attempts.
It appears that there may be a good possibility that an existing site will be used. This could be fortunate for us but still allows doubt as to what will happen with Lucas Berg. We are reaching out to Senator Maloney to get his advice on the matter. Senator Maloney has been instrumental in assuring the MWRD has made lands not needed in conjunction with existing projects can be leased or utilized to promote economic stimulus. We of course will always seek the use of Lucas Berg as a Nature Preserve, Environmental education facilities that ties in Recreation with Tax revenue along our Main Street 111th.
Please check in for updates or information, as more will be forthcoming after an update from the Congressman’s office and communications with Senator Maloney. Our fall clean up will be scheduled soon.............
Greetings friends and neighbors,
Spring is upon us! It is now time to begin planning for our annual clean up of the Lucas berg Nature Preserve. This successful event provides an opportunity for residents, friends and fellow nature lovers to give back to our environment, enhance local aesthetics and enjoy the company of like minded stewards of the land. Take a look at the archive photos below to get a sneak peak of the cooperative efforts of years past. The event also provides a rare opportunity to enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds of The Lucas Berg.
For over 40 years the Village of Worth has sought to protect the Lucas Berg from the threat of being used as a repository for contaminated dredged material by the USACE. Today, at the request of our town leadership The Village of Worth Life Safety Committee continues to perpetuate this goal. As fellow residents, and potential victims of the USACE’s plan we have strived to safe guard the Lucas Berg, communicate the needs of the Village to the USACE, ILEPA, MWRD, Congressional and State Legislatures and network with entities that can assist in deterring the USACE from destroying our local environment. In addition to offering alternate methods and locations for the placement and or treatment of the toxic materials from the waterways we seek to protect the fragile ecosystem that has evolved at this special aquatic site. You can be part of this important campaign an assist in safeguarding our quality of life simply by getting involved in the Campaign. How? Choose one or all of the following……
1.) Come to the clean up event on 7 May 2011 to show support for Lucas Berg and our environment. Event will begin at 8AM and end at 12 Noon. Rain or shine, bring boots and foul weather gear. Lunch and beverages provided by our local sponsors.
2.) Come to Life Safety Committee meetings 7PM on the third Wednesday of every month. Worth Village Hall.
3.) Call, write and Email local and State political representation the ILEPA, USACE and MWRD. Tell them it’s time to stop threatening the Village of Worth and the Lucas Berg. Take the land off the list of government sites and put it back in the hands of those who will protect it. Need contact and email addresses? See step #2 above.
We look forward to seeing you all there. As slow as things appear to be going, we are making progress and need your help.
Take a look at the attachment below. One of our residents provided a beautiful painting of how he views the Lucas berg. Great work Glen!! ( painting by Glen Koaster)
Life Safety Committee
It has been some time since our last update. The Holidays, deep freeze snowstorms, family activities and of course work obligations have kept us all quite busy over the past month. We want to re assure everyone that during this busy time period we have still remained vigilant in our fight to protect the Lucas Berg Nature Preserve. We would like to share some of the communications we have had relating to our endeavor.
Update on Army communications.
Last month, the committee received word from the Corps that an inquiry had been sent to the MWRD. The “un-official” letter from the Corps allegedly asked the MWRD for a list of optional real estate sites that the Corps may include in the site selection process. It appears that the MWRD has been hesitant to provide additional real estate to the Corps (in their opinion “they have already provided Lucas Berg”). We contacted the District on several occasions in an effort to see what type of criteria they would use to sift through their land holdings. We also offered that “proximity to the populace” should preclude the choice of Lucas Berg or any other such situated sites. When pressed, they denied any such request from the Corps. This would not be the first time that the MWRD has not been aware or denied knowledge of certain dealings with the Corps. It is concerning that the MWRD is not being more proactive in trying to locate a safer site. After all is said and done, they will be the ones responsible for the poisoned land and its byproducts once it is released by the Corps. With the retirement of Director Lanyon we will need to pursue a dialog with his replacement and his board. More information to come as this pathway becomes available.
Several months ago we discussed the contract that was awarded to Foth environmental. Foth was contracted to gather existing sediment chemistry data, compile this data and insert additional testing results as needed. They also completed a 35% report that gave a ball park style look at what type of site would be needed to contain the contaminant laden dredged material. The Corps have sent the FOTH reports to their technical lab in Vicksburg for analysis. The Lab will run simulated exposure tests and map potential routes of cross contamination by the chemicals contained in the sediment. Once the Lab completes their analysis we will have a better understanding of what “the Army believes” will happen to our environment and quality of life should they choose Lucas Berg. We are awaiting the results of this report. One of the issues we have with this process is that the analysis looks at LONG TERM containment as 40 years. That is to say that after 40 years containment will not be maintained.
The Corps are meeting with officials in Riverdale, Ill. There is a site there that had been used in the 1970’s for placement of dredged material. The Corps are meeting there this week to discuss transfer of the property to the Village of Riverdale. The Village Administration feels that the site should be a Nature Preserve. What they do not know is the following.
This particular site was used by the Corps in the 1970’s as an example of what to expect at Lucas Berg. Several people from Worth visited the site and had the opportunity to see what happens when dredged material is placed. At the time, the location was being maintained in accordance with Corps policy on placement sites. Our villagers walked away with the impression that maybe the idea of placing clean fill at Lucas Berg was not all that bad.
Fast forward 35 years later. The same site, filled with PCBs and other contaminants is now property of MWRD and has been a perfect example of what happens when the money runs out. Potentially contaminated water overflows into 138th street on high precipitation days. The fence has collapsed in several places. Oily and smelly water bubbles up from a man hole at the West of the site. Locals trespass on the land and fish. When questioned on the site and its poor maintenance the MWRD reported having no record of dredged material ever being placed there. This poor post project maintenance is exactly what scares us about the Lucas Berg project after LONG TERM becomes today. The Village of Riverdale unknowingly will be creating a community area out of a pool of toxic material.
Update on political support
We have continued to reach out to Congressman Lipinski and his staff. They have assured us that our issue is still in the forefront and we will not be forgotten. We appreciate the Congressman’s assistance and hope that he can represent our cause in a way that will deter the Corps from ever using Lucas Berg. We have been told by the Corps that Congress is their boss and with the right amount of pressure from our Congressman, the Corps can walk away from the site. We will continue to ask Congressman Dan Lipinski to apply that pressure.
Senator Maloney and Cook County Commissioner Murphy continue to monitor our activities and seek to have the Illinois Nature Preserve commission designate Lucas berg as a listed Nature Preserve. We are waiting for more information to become available.
We have sent communications to Chair Nancy Sutly of the Council on Environmental Quality. The Council is part of the Administrative branch and is responsible for ensuring that Government Agencies play by the rules when it comes to the National Environmental Policy Act. We think that the Army did not play by the rules when they chose Lucas Berg as a placement site.
Wayne has incorporated the NPDES requirements into our monthly meetings; these regulations ensure that the Village and her residents are being vigilant in ensuring that our waterways and environment remain sustainable. Public awareness is a critical element of implementing this plan. Ensuring our ditches, yards and drainage are free from contaminants that can harm our waterways is an important step in protecting our aesthetics and drinking water. Please visit the Village website to learn more about this important mandate from the ILEPA. The Life Safety Committee will continue to discuss NPDES and how we can make a difference in our community.
Gene is preparing the committee’s notes and analysis of the FOTH report. We feel that the report is missing pertinent information, provisions for protection of the populace, makes assumptions about our local ordinances and lacks other important elements. When complete our notes will be forwarded to the USACE. Gene continues to compile our defense in preparation for the Corps first public meeting.
Adele continues to search for safe alternate methods to treat or dispose of the material. Adele believes that Plasma gasification may be a safer alternative to land placement. Adele has also produced a historical timeline of events related to Lucas Berg that highlights over 40 years of citizens efforts to stop the Corps. (To be attached soon)
Please show your support for our town by attending our meetings. It could mean the difference between losing or winning this fight, our health and our children’s future. Third Wednesday of every month 7 PM Village Hall.
This coming Tuesday December 7, Senator Maloney will present the Village board with SR 0755. The Board will honor the Senator for his efforts to protect the people of the Village of Worth from adverse health and environmental degradation as a result of the Army Corps plan to use our Lucas berg for placement of toxic dredged material from the canal. Please take the time to attend this meeting. Senator Maloney has been a great advocate of our Village in this fight.
Recent communications with the Corps indicate that in January the MWRD will be providing a list of additional real estate available for the project. We will continue to push for the removal of Lucas Berg from this list but we need your help. The MWRD, by law is the local sponsor for the dredging project and is required to provide land to the Corps for its needs. Take a moment to contact the MWRD and let them know that you do NOT want the Lucas berg to be used in this way. Terrance OBrien,. President, Board of Commissioners (312) 751 5700
Governor Quinn, after several attempts has yet to voice his support for our plight. We continue to lobby him for our cause time and time again. He has not responded. We need your calls. Call Governor Pat Quinn 312 814 2121. Ask him why he has opposed the Corps plan.
We hope that December finds you healthy and warm. keep up the fight!
Senator Maloney called from Springfield on Wednesday to say that SR 0755 has been adopted!( link below, choose "full text" to view). Thank you Senator and staff for representing the interest of our friendly Village! This resolution opposes the use of Lucas Berg by the USACE for the placement of contaminated dredged material.
The Senator spoke to committee on our behalf on Tuesday. He was successful in describing our plight and ensured the adoption of this important resolution. We offer thanks to Senator Maloney and appreciate the extra effort he committed to ensure the adoption of 0755. SR 0755 along with the other resolutions we have obtained will ensure that we are adequately represented to the USACE when they have to make a decision on wether or not to use the Lucas berg. The Life safety Committee will continue to gather support in our endeavor and ask that you participate by contacting Governor Pat Quinn.Gov. Quinn has been silent concerning our issues and we need his support to ensure victory over the USACE. We now have the support of the Illinois Legislature but we need the Governor to weigh in. His office may be contacted at 217 782 0244. Leave a message, we have. Perhaps enough calls will finally get his attention.
Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday and enjoy time with the family!http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=0755&GAID=10&GA=96&DocTypeID=SR&LegID=53293&SessionID=76
A big thank you to all that attended this years Fall clean up at the Lucas berg nature Preserve. We had over 70 participants including our own Cub Scout pack 3668, Girl Scouts troop 60589, many of "Teacher Mike's" geocaching friends, members of the Worth Lions club and several sons and daughters the friendly village with thier families. Our team pulled over 60 bags of garbage out of the site. The rain began to fall around 10 o'clock but that did not stop our attendees from gathering trash and debris from the site, as a matter of fact the rain seemed to have no effect on attendance. The spirit of stewardship and teamwork kept everyone warm.
Fortunately the Wilson clan provided an additional mobile device to assist in trash removal. Mr Wilson and his souped up golf cart assisted the Army Ranger in removing the bags, once full, back to the main entrance. Special thanks to Jeff for the use of his super cart!
This event was yet another example of the great concern the people of Worth share for our environment. Not only did we have an opportunity to share in the spirit of cooperation as we cleaned up Lucas berg but we also had the opportunity to take in the beauty within this threatened site. We would like to thank Mercury Sightseeing Boats and Grainger Industrial supply in Alsip for donating gloves. The Village of Worth for donating Garbage bags. O BOY Pizza for a fine lunch, CLIFF bar Corp for snacks and Private Bank for Water. We appreciate all the support these businesses provide.
We hope to have an even bigger event this Spring.......stay tuned
On a political note, Senator Maloney is sponsoring SR0655. This resolution was held up in the last session but will be brought up to an executive committee this Tuesday. The Senator has consistantly checked in with us over the past few months and is a great supporter of our campaign. We may be asked to testify before this committee in the days to come. Please keep this resolution in your thoughts as its adoption strengthens our position. More details to follow.
I hope November brings you warm embraces from family and friends as we celebrate our thanks for the blessings we have. Happy Thanksgiving.
Our Fall Clean up event is on track for Saturday, November 13 2010. We will meet at the Lucas berg Nature Preserve at 8am and pitch in to clean up this beautiful area until noon. The site is located at 7600 W 111th Street. Look for the white travel trailer and greeting station at the main entrance. This is your opportunity to get inside the Lucas Berg, see the beauty within and lend a hand in keeping our town trash free. The event is great for public service hours, school projects and just having fun!
Take a look below at the pictures from previous clean ups and you can see what a difference we can make. Be prepared for the elements with boots, jacket and a hat. The event goes on rain or shine.
Refreshments and lunch will be served after the event. We will provide garbage bags, gloves and plenty water. Come on out and have some fun at the Lucas berg!
We also have some news to report in the campaign to save the Lucas berg from the Army Corps. We had been patiently waiting for the FOTH Environmental 35% site criteria report to become available. We have received the report and are still digesting its implications. Unfortunately, once again the only site specifically mentioned in the document is our Lucas Berg. Other sites are mentioned as alternates but not with such location specific verbiage. This is unfortunate because it is in the opinion of the committee that any logical comparisons must take into account the proximity that a receiving site is in relationship to people’s homes, schools and recreation facilities. Without an actual physical site to compare Lucas berg against how can the USACE ensure that fair and honest diligence has been performed in the protection of people from exposure to contaminated materials?
We have developed many tough questions for the USACE and continue to formulate our strategy as new information becomes available. The Committee also continues to reach out to our political representation in an effort to garner support. Our plight is Non-partisan in nature and we can use all the help we can get. Pending the results of the upcoming election, we may have new friends in our fight against the USACE's plan. We will keep our options open and maintain a dialog with our legislators.
We have received a reply from the MWRD to our letter asking for assistance. This letter, formulated by Gene was signed by President Keller and every member of the Committee. Mr. Richard Lanyon of the MWRD replied to our call for help with a generic denial of responsibility to the Lucas Berg and our plight. The MWRD is placing responsibility for the Lucas Berg and dredging issues on the USACE, even though not only do they own the property but will eventually take back the property when the Corps are finished destroying it. We had hoped for some foresight by the MWRD. Unfortunately they are not willing to engage.
We hope to see you all at the cleanup and don’t forget to VOTE on November 2. By choosing our leaders we choose our future.
October, the month we get ready for the annual subtle change from lush greens to yellows and red. From short sleeves and t shirts to sweaters and comfortable warm attire. Fireplaces get going, homemade chili and soups sound good and cool winds blow from the North. And as we have done for many generations our families prepare for the holidays that are just around the corner. Leaves are changing, the days seem shorter and just about every animal we see is preparing for the long road ahead.
Lucas Berg is changing too. Soon the trees will shed thier leaves and begin to hybernate during the cold winter. The deer, muscrat, fish and frog have seen this change coming for a long time. These local creatures are accostomed to these changes as are we. It is a natural change and requred by natures cycle of life. They have lived in the Lucas Berg for many years now and their instincts lead the way. It is a natural change.
What the Deer, muscrat,fish and frog are not prepared for is the loss of thier environment, the place that they call home. Lucas Berg is the source of food, shelter and protection that so many kindred creatures depend on. They are not prepared for the U.S Army Corps to dewater the twin lakes at Lucas Berg, kill thier food source and cut down the trees and brush that the inhabitants rely on. The people who live around the Lucas Berg are also not prepared. The change of seasons gives way to new life. The placement of contaminated dredged material into the Lucas berg will destroy life and hinder not only the natural healing process currently underway but affect the lives of all who live in our wonderful town.
Should we allow the Army to destroy this Natural site we will surely be affected. No matter what protections they secure or what precautions they will take one thing is certain. Our environment WILL change. Be assured that what they have planned will change our lives.
We can not allow the Army to ruin the beautiful natural space that this parcel of land has become, jeapordize our alternate water supply that lay beneath it nor can we allow them to alter our local environment by adding toxic sediment to our own habitat.
We need your help sons and daughters of Worth. The Army has other options but has refused to remove Lucas berg from the list. Come join us at our meetings, call your Senators and Congressmen. Tell them we will not allow the destruction of the deer, muscrat, fish and frog. Tell them NOT IN OUR TOWN.
Please join us on Saturday November 13 8 AM to Noon at 7600 W 111 Street. We will be hosting the Annual Fall clean up of the Lucas Berg. This is your opportunity to get inside and pitch in to keep this beautiful area clean. It is also a chance to ask questions reguarding the Army's plan and get some answers on how it will affect you. Refreshments and lunch will be available at the site. Please wear good boots and a smile!
Dont forget, our meetings are the third Wednesday of every month. All are welcome .....Hope to see you there.
September has been productive for the committee. Gene has sent out several letters demanding the attention of our Senators, MWRD, and the Governor. After numerous attempts at contact, the committee has seen seen little or no concern from those that will receive these letters yet again. This time, in an effort to open their eyes, our request is signed by our own Village President Randy Keller. We await a response from these so called "GREEN" politicians.
Sue has been studying PEC and TEC concentration data. These quantitative numbers, as used in USACE studies indicate at what level contaminants become toxic to the Benthic community. The concentrations in the canal samples have shown an acute toxicity to certain bottom dwellers and benchmark organisms. Sue is currently developing an understanding of these tests and measures in an effort to establish a correlation to the human exposure quotient.
Wayne is working on well data, GIS mapping and translation of cartesian location data for well heads in town. We hope to establish a good estimate of well use in the town. He is also spearheading the NPDES education requirements for the Village.
We are proud to have the assistance of the Cook County Board in our efforts. Commissioner Murphy has disclosed that she is working with Senator Maloney on persuading the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission to establish Lucas berg as a recognized Natural Preserve. This type of designation would afford the land much more protection form the State of Illinois. Commissioners Murphy, Daley and Gorman deserve our thanks.
The Army Corps has recently decided to authorize me to enter the site without fear of being arrested. This ability is a major development for our team. We now can sample the water, observe changes in the flora and fauna and document the site without fear of enduring the legal repercussions that could taint our public image, prevent distribution of our photographs and possibly inhibit future public access. This permission comes as a result of many requests made by the Village Board, Congressman Lipinski's office and the hard work of the Committee. The Corps have seen that we mean only to protect this land and trust that we will use this access within specified guidelines they have established.
We are reminded that ,for now, this land is still the property of the United States Government and unauthorized access is strictly prohibited. We believe that one day soon, everyone will be allowed to enjoy the wonders inside.
We spotted a Blue Heron at the North side of the site this week. Herons are particularly attracted to clean fresh water aquatic sites. This sighting is yet another example of why we need to protect this natural resources. As the list of participants in this wonderful ecosystem continue to grow so does the importance of its defence. A site such as this attracts what wild life is left of our shrinking green spaces.
News from the USACE indicates that the FOTH site criteria report that we have been waiting to see has arrived. The Corps will need a few weeks to verify the report, accept its content and eventually release it to the public. We hope to have a copy by the end of this month. more information as it becomes available. This report was commissioned to outline what type of site will be needed to contain the toxic dredged material from the canal. Using the models they establish through this report it also may identify weather or not Lucas berg could fit the criteria for use as a placement site.
The Commission has found another alternate site for the Army and have put the owner of this property in contact with the appropriate decision makers at the Corps office. Without naming the site, it is certainly further away from peoples homes and would suit all of the Army's needs according to our Army sources. The site has been added to the short list and awaits further study.
Our Fall clean up is on the way! Stay tuned for a solid date and time soon.
Please share this site with friends and family. We need more members, comments and questions. Its free, easy and helps to spread the message concerning our plight. Check out the Facebook site as well. Remember, this fight is far from over and we need your help!
Please keep Commissioner Adele Bank in your prayers. Her husband has been very ill and requires constant care. Adele is doing her best and we support her in all her efforts to help Hank get better.
August has been a productive month for the Committee. Along with monitoring the Lucas berg, tracking new developments with the USACE and searching for an alternate site we have been fortunate enough to secure the support of the Cook County Board. Thanks to Commissioner Murphy, Commissioner Daley and Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman a Cook County Board resolution passed endorsing our goal and opposing the use of Lucas Berg by the Corps. We offer thanks to the Board and look forward to working with Commissioner Murphy as we strive to protect the Lucas Berg. Commissioner Murphy has suggested that we consider perusing having the site deemed a nature preserve by the Illinois Nature preserve commission. She is currently working on this project along with Senator Ed Maloney.
We have also ensured that the MWRD and ILEPA have been kept abreast of all recent activities and findings. It appears from our FOIA data that the ILEPA has kept the Corps on their toes concerning use of the Lucas Berg. Unfortunately our USACE FOIA provided much less information as was expected. It did however confirm that our concerns are being heard through evidence of meetings with the ILEPA.
In recent communications with the USACE we find that they have yet to receive the Foth Environmental report. This report will outline certain recommendations and criteria for the potential placement site. We are cautiously awaiting receipt of this report for it will outline certain containment and protective provisions for the contaminated materials. More to come on this important contract. We also have learned that public meetings will take place as soon as next year once site selection has concluded.
Worth days was an excellent opportunity to speak with residents about our mutual concerns. We gathered 100 signatures and spoke to over 200 concerned residents and locals. We had on site pictures, copies of our findings and our latest flyer available to everyone who would stop to take a look. Please pass the word; we need all the help we can get!
We have suggested several alternate sites to the Corps over the past five years. It appears that at least one of these sites may be an acceptable alternative to the Lucas berg. The site owner has agreed to negotiate with the USACE and is allowing us to be involved in future dialog with the Corps. More information to come as it becomes available.
Our Co Chair Gene Meyers has sent an additional letter to our State Senators as well as Governor Quinn. This letter once again outlines our plight and asks for their attendance to this matter. It is unfortunate that our past attempts have gone unanswered. WE AWAIT A RESPONSE and seek to hold those responsible for funding the Corps use of Lucas Berg accountable. Good work Gene.
In closing, we hope that August finds you and your families enjoying the summer together, exploring the wonders of nature and vigilant in protecting what little we have left. Please post comment, share stories and visit often. THIS IS YOUR LUCAS BERG, lets keep it that way!
Greetings friends and families,
I hope this summer finds you enjoying the warm weather and the great outdoors. There are a few developments and updates we would like to share with you.
Recent storms and precipitation has brought higher water levels to the twin lakes in the Lucas berg.
I am reminded of our ground water in town and how the Lucas berg influences how much water we get as a result in our own back yards. The Lucas Berg is designated as a groundwater recharge area. If this site were filled we would certainly see more water in our culverts and own backyards as a result of the recent storms…Just another reason why we should strive to maintain the Lucas Berg’s present condition. The Army Corps has been notified of our observations and our need to maintain this present condition. As you know the ground once saturated, will not accept any additional water. A good percentage of the water from rains and storms is absorbed by the Lucas berg.
Gene Meyers, Co-chair of the Life Safety Committee and member of C.O.T.E, has recently written several letters which will be sent to our Senator, Governor and MWRD President. These gentlemen have been lacking in the support of our needs and thus far, deaf to our pleas. Gene has done a fantastic job of communicating our situation. Gene is a great communicator and along with his wife has been focused on the Lucas Berg and protecting our community for decades. We are fortunate to have members of C.O.T.E as members of the Life Safety Committee. C.O.T.E (Care Of the Earth) was an organization founded in the early 1970s. It is thanks to these local crusaders that a land fill did not develop upon the grounds of the Lucas Berg in the 1970s. We also have C.O.T.E to thank for the volumes of information and research available concerning the Lucas Berg at the Worth Historical Museum. Without this information and the diligence of these villagers in the early days of this fight we would not have the information, history and momentum for our current endeavor. I was amazed at the record keeping and document keeping at the museum. Agnes Daniels and Adele Benck, early pioneers and members of COTE provided for my education on the Lucas Berg via the transcripts, records and clippings that they carefully archived. We surely owe these great people and neighbors’ thanks for providing the foundation for our current endeavors. Early on in this cause, Adele Benck provided volumes of information and historical data concerning the Lucas Berg. Her crusade and dedication to this cause is evident in the progress we have made to date. We owe these early crusaders a great debt and many thanks. They have not given up the fight and we stand with them now. Can you imagine the “friendly village” with a garbage dump in the center of town? Thanks to them we breathe easier, drink clean water and live in a town free from landfills.
Good news from the Cook County Board: Joan Patricia Murphy is sponsoring a resolution opposing the Lucas Berg for dumping by the Army Corps. One of our members will be addressing the board next week in pursuit of their support. More information to follow as it becomes available. This resolution will strengthen our campaign by highlighting our possession of political support and strength in numbers. Keep up the good work and call your representation. Your phone calls and emails are working! Keep it up!
We have sent data from the Hudson River Dredging project to the ILEPA. This data proves that maintenance dredging results in volitization and accumulation of residues from contaminants that will pose a threat to people. It was found that the dredging activity in the Hudson River Project created exceedences of set levels by the EPA for human contact. PCB’s were found in higher levels than was allowed by the EPA throughout the project in water and the local air. We hope that this study will aid us in preventing the CORPS from placing this type of material in our town.
Recent communications with the USACE have indicated that they are not ready to have public meetings concerning the placement of dredged materials with the people who will be affected until 2011. They, in conjunction with FOTH ENVIROMNETAL, are looking at their recent study to determine where and how they may place this contaminated material. The Army has indicated they have alternatives to the Lucas Berg. We, of course, are trying to make the Lucas Berg the hardest target possible by highlighting the negatives associated with placing contaminated sediment in close proximity to a residential area. The Army has asked if in their formula for determining what site to use what value will be placed on the human factor. They are having difficulty determining a value for the human factor. Imagine that. They have asked for our council in determining this formula. We will do our best to represent that criterion.
We have had some press in the Chicago Tribune. Take a look at Janice Neuman’s article below. Janice was great to work with even though we were barred from entering the property for the article by Kevin Ewbanks, Ranger responsible for the Lucas Berg.
Worth Days is right around the corner, look for us in the vendors section. We will have members on hand to answer questions and provide real answers concerning the Lucas Berg.
Thank you for visiting and please pass the word on the site. The Army and our political representation are looking at this site. We need more members, posts and stories about the Lucas Berg. Remember, it’s free and for a good cause…..our future.
Happy Fourth of July!
I hope this weekend is both enjoyable and safe for all our dear families!
I wanted to share some new information and some recent events but first, a reminder. The Lucas Berg is still Government property. This means that if you venture in and are caught by the Army, as my family and I were this past Sunday, they will ticket you. They (the Army) do not want us fishing, jogging, exploring, cleaning, frog catching, bird watching, photographing, teaching, or enjoying nature without a Ranger there. What they ( the Army) do want there is Arsenic, PCB's, Cyanide, oil and grease, Copper, Nickel, Lead, Zinc, Pesticides, Cadmium, Mercury, Chromium, Naphalene and a host of other carcinogens that will destroy our town. Keep this in mind prior to entering this “off limits" area.
Recent communications with the USACE tells us that FOTH Environmental has completed a draft site criteria study. This study compares what is needed at a site to contain the above mentioned contaminants (TOXIC MATERIALS) and compares the alternatives that the Army has provided to get the best fit. As you know, the Lucas Berg is one of the possible sites that they are including in the study. It is my opinion that Lucas Berg is the most likely site to be chosen based on current communications trends and reconnance received from FOIA requests to the ILEPA and USACE. We are being re assured on one hand that the process is fair and will include our recommendations. On the other hand, we also know that the Army is the one who misled us in the first place years ago. As long as the Lucas berg stays in the hands of the Army, we should consider it and us, in danger. We will obtain a copy of this report very soon. I sent out the FOIA request today.
The Tribune is doing a story on our plight. I have met with and held several conversations with the reporter. She has also called the public affairs officer and project managers for the USACE project. One of the most important highlights from her phone calls was the observation that the Corps representatives have little understanding of their own project. They also stated that public hearings (yes, I said hearings) will be held in the specific neighborhoods surrounding the site choices. The hearings will begin maybe this fall or winter.
A public hearing is extremely important for our issue. Every man woman and child should attend. This would be our opportunity to show our strength in numbers and our vigilance in protecting our town. The Life Safety committee is planning for these hearings and will provide information to those who attend in the form of index cards. These cards will have wisely worded and well thought out questions. The USACE is not use to people who are prepared. Worth will be over prepared. Stay tuned for dates and locations as they become available. In the mean time, attend a Life Safety meeting on the third Wednesday of every month at the Village Hall.
Governor Quinn's office was contacted this Friday. We spoke to one of his aids and asked for him to take a look at what is happening in Worth. We shall see if he calls back this time.
We have also recently asked the MWRD for assistance. They are the owners of the property and need to understand the repercussions that will occur should we fail. It is a well known fact that the Village was misled by the Corps concerning how clean the fill for the Lucas berg would be. Now that we know what is really in the sediment fill, how toxic it is, how can the MWRD allow itself to be exposed to the litigation and claims that will surely be placed upon them for allowing this to occur? We are waiting to hear from Richard Lanyon and Terrance O'Brian.
I spoke with John Driscoll of the driscoll Farm. He is very concerned about the effects of the project on his land, animals and foodstock. The farms only source of water is the well supplied by the aquifer below the Lucas Berg. He is also concerned about his thousands of honey bees that rely on that water for sustenance and the edible pie pumpkins that he grows. John although living in Palos is a fellow Worthonian in our quest. He would be affected most of all.
Please take a moment out of your day to contact the following persons. Call them and let them know that you are opposed to the use of the Lucas Berg by the Army. Tell them it is dangerous and people will get sick. They all play a part in this decision. Tell them NOT IN OUR TOWN. Tell them they are nuts if you wish. It will only take a second or two. Call more than once and leave a message, we need your help!
Richard Lanyon, Executive director MWRD, Richard.Lanyon@mwrdgc.dst.il.us, 312-751-7900
Terrance O'Brian, President MWRD, firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 751-5700
Director Douglas Scott, ILEPA, 217-782-3397
Dan Heacock, ILEPA permitting agents ILEPA. Dan.Heacock@il.gov, 217 782 0610
Jerry Skalak, USACE, Project Manager email@example.com, (309)794-5605
Ron Fournier, public relations, USACE 309 794 5274
Nancy Sutley, Chair,Council on Environmental Quality, 722 Jackson Place, N.W. ,Washington, DC 20503,tele. (202) 395-5750
We need your stories and input for the website. Do you have an experience from years ago related to the Lucas Berg? How about today? How big are the fish that you have caught there? Email your stories new and old to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post them so we all can enjoy the Storys, good times and laughs that you have had.
This is the Weekend that we honor those who protect our liberties, way of life and our freedom. I hope that everyone has had the opportunity to thank our local military soldiers, sailors and marines. If not, then take a moment to reflect on those who sacrifice all that they have to bring us peace, comfort and the right to be Americans. They are the front line of our liberty and deserve our praise, love and support. Without them our country is lost. Thank to you men and women of honor present and past for the sacrifices that you make and have made for us and ours. You will not be forgotten.
Today was a great opportunity to observe the wonders of the Lucas Berg. I was reminded of our veterans love for our country as I beheld the beauty of this American piece of land and I wondered if we are doing our part. I look at how this land has evolved into a fruitful space, a refuge and habitat. Is this not part of what we fight for? Are we doing enough to keep the US Army from dumping here? Is this not the pursuit of happiness? I saw the beauty and collective display of a land that should be ours. Not ours in the sense of ownership but ours in the sense of free space, open to all townspeople to enjoy. I suppose my thoughts of country and liberty had been inspired by the American flag that is displayed by a local villager close to the property line. Not uncommon in our friendly village at all times of the year. On this day it seemed to wave a little more.
Today was definitely a day for dragon flies. There are so many different varieties and they are quick to take flight when you are taking a shot. The pictures will show the presence of the widow skimmer, painted skimmer and a few damsels. We also saw the evidence of the spittle bug who leaves a frothy foam on plants to protect its young. There was, of course no shortage of our beloved bull frogs. Bull frogs are a great indicator of good water quality. We encountered a few locals fishing, one on a boat. We found fresh deer and muskrat tracks to the South and West and interestingly enough honey bees to the West of the South cell. The bees appear to come from the Driscoll farm. They use the water and soil to make honeycombs. The white water crow foot can be seen along the shores, it is a beautiful small wetland flower that exposes only the stem, flower and pistols. there is also a shot of the stone dissapator area that now hosts thousands of tadpoles. can you imagine all of this being destroyed by the USACE? We cant let it happen, its our slice of America. All in all it was a great day at the Lucas berg. Thank you Veterans! Without you we would be nothing.
What a turn out! Our fellow Worthonians,Trustees, Police Dept, Girl Scouts, Moraine Valley College,Army Corps and a huge compliment of fellow geocashers turned out to clean up the Lucas Berg. Thanks so much to all our friends and a big thank you to Rep. Kevin Joyce's John Hayner and Senator Maloney for attending the event.
Folks had the chance to explore the beautiful site and lend a hand in beautification of our town. The best part of Saturdays event was watching the local kids having a blast catching Bullfrogs and Great Plains toads in between gathering trash. Our local police and Park board president had to stop traffic on 111th street for a brief moment as a large Bullfrog attempted to make a crossing after jumping through the grasp of one of our youngsters. A few of the girls found some small animal bones to display. Thanks to Gary at OH BOY pizza, PRIVATE BANK ,Village president Randy Keller and WINDY CITY SUBS for the refreshments and fine lunch. GRAINGER INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY supplied the trash bags and protective gloves for the event. NICOR also sponsored the village event.
Fun was had by all. We recovered a rather modest 40 Bags of rubbish this year ( typical of Spring) with the help of our friends from the Cashapallosa event. The event was held in Worth and showcases the high tech hide and seek abilities of those modern day treasure hunters who believe in CITO and respecting the environment, CITO stands for cashe in trash out. This requires that you take garbage out as you place your hidden Cashe. What a wonderful sport and what great people to meet. Check out the link in our links section for more information on geocashing.
Senator Maloney stopped by to take another peek at the beauty of our Lucas Berg. He has been diligently working to further our goal of creating an environmental learning center at the Lucas Berg. He has sponsored Senate Resolution 0755. Check it out at the link below. Nice to have our political representation actually representing our needs and being attentive to the well being of our town.
I cant say how wonderful it was to see the smiling faces of all our fellow villagers enjoying a day at the Lucas Berg. One day my friends we can do this without the presence of the Army Corps and without tresspassing in our own town. Keep up the fight and be ready to protect our town! Only Worth has this beautiful gem and it should be open to us , STOP THE ARMY CORPS PLAN, Its WORTH it!
The Clean up is this Saturday May 15th! 7600 W 111th Street, 8am to Noon. This is our chance to go inside the Lucas Berg and see first hand why the Army Corps should abandon thier plans. Wear boots and bring a rain coat just in case. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided. There will be refreshments available after the event. Downloadable brochure and flyer available at the Village Hall website. Bring a camera and see you there there!
Senator Maloney has come through with a Senate resolution 0755 opposing the use of Lucas Berg for placement of toxic dredged material. The resolution is now in the Senate committee on Environment. Once passed this resolution will send a strong message to the USACE and the ILEPA that we do not want this in our town. Great thanks to Senator Maloney and Representative Kevin Joyce for all their support.
We also have recently garnered the support of Moraine Valley Community College. Last Week Trustee Kats and our committee attended the Earth Week on Moraine’s campus. We had the opportunity to meet faculty and students from the school. We passed out many flyers to the attendees and had the honor of sharing a table there with the GREEN TEAM. The GREEN TEAM is a group of environmentally savvy students and educators that are concerned with sustainability in our environment. Their work involves many facets of environmental stewardship and this concept parallels our committees own goals. We have been told that they wish to assist. We look forward to working with faculty and students from Moraine on issues concerning the Lucas Berg Nature Preserve.
May 15 approaches and we remind our friends that the cleanup is at hand. Please spread the word and get ready to enjoy the beauty of our own Lucas berg. Let’s show the Army that we care. The flyer for the cleanup is attached below in FILES.
We have had no word from Congressman Lipinski recently. We await information from his office on legislation that would prevent placement of toxic material so close to our homes.
Gene continues to gather our questions for the USACE, Sue is working on TEC and PEC chemical exposure issues, Adele filters through data, Therese is working on property values and Wayne is gathering info from Robinson Engineering concerning wells. I'm going to work on the MWRD this week.
Our FOIA from the ILEPA re assures the idea that the USACE still considers the Lucas Berg as the preffered site. This is unfortunate but fuels our resolove.
I have added some nice pictures of our mother swan below. She has moved the nest. It took a bit but I found it. Enjoy!
The water levels at Lucas Berg are slightly down from last month. Gages indicate a drop of .75 inches in two weeks. We have had less rain recently and this is to be expected as a result. Spawning fish activity was noted in the North cell towards the Eastern side. At least 10 fishermen lined the shores of both cells this afternoon. It was interesting to see two small boats make their way across the lakes in search of good fishing.
I was reminded by the USACE this week that the Lucas Berg is Army property and no tresspassing is allowed. It seems that the Army still wishes to use this land as a placement site for contaminated dredging from the canal. With your help we can urge the Corps and our political representation to abandon this site. It is important to remember that we will lose this site forever if we stop pushing. Do not stop pushing. Come to our meetings and speak your mind. We need your help.
Today we went to visit the Forest Preserve District's Sagawau Environmental Learning Center today. What a wonderful experiance. The site contains an actual canyon, one of a few existing in Illinois. The tour of the canyon was led by an extremely well educated grey haired naturalist guide who wore particularily large rubber boots.. She was a retired school teacher that has over 30 years experiance in the field. During the tour we encountered a fellow tour taker who asked the guide about the "Lucas Berg Quarry". I was so very pleased to hear that the public has heard about our site. The Guide graciously allowed me to describe the history of Lucas Berg and our plight. It was refreshing to share our story concerning the Lucas Berg and compare what we would like to see to what was being accomplished at Sagawau. This type of development at the Lucas Berg could bring comprehensive environmental stewardship to our town and invite generations to work together as they enjoy the spirit of environmental awareness. How great this would be. Please visit the Sagawau Center at 12545 W. 111th Street, Lamont, Illinois, 60439. Be sure to take the canyon tour and enjoy the learning center. When you are there, think about how we could do this right here at the Lucas berg.
Today was a fantastic day to observe the wildlife at the Lucas berg. The Red Winged Blackbirds sang from the Eastern tree line all morning. Much of the seedlings planted last month have begun to prosper and new growth is abound. It was not difficult to get close enough to see the Blue Winged Teal couple preparing to nest along the Northern shore line. Their colors are very unique. take a look at the updated album below. a Canadian Goose held court over several American coots as noted in the pictures. The Turtles are sunning as usual along the Eastern bank while several Bull Frogs dodged all attempts at capture.
I met several fishermen today. They all share the same story concerning the location of the honey spot, a small section of great fishing at the South East quadrant of the North Cell. One day it would be nice if everyone could enjoy this great fishing hole and that of the South cell without worry of being ticketed by the Army Corps.
The clean up on May 15 could not come soon enough. Litter is collecting on all banks. We certainly hope all can attend. If only this site was open to the public we could ensure trash cans would allow for easy collection of all litter. without a place to put the trash it seems that folks just let it lay.
Water levels have risen following the precip from last week. the levels now compare to the high readings from last month.
This week we spoke to Moraine Valley College. The staff is interested in the Lucas Berg and has offered to see what they can do to help. Great news. We look forward to working with these fellow environmental stewards and educators in the future. Our FOIA requests have come in from the ILEPA and we will be taking a close look at the implications concerning the Army Corp's plans.
April is here and the Lucas Berg nature preserve is transforming from its winter time grey and brown hues to a beautiful lush green. The ice has melted away to reveal the pristine spring fed waters beneath. These waters, as any local fisherman know host many species of fish that are now coming up from the deeper sections of the water in search of food. The fish are not alone in this search. Take a look at the Spring pictures below and you can see the rock bass, painted turtle and muskrat along with a few other new photos.
The wind today was strong. The waves from the South cell seemed to eat away at the shore along the clay liner, turning the clay into dust as they lapped it away bit by bit. This erosion process has been going on for over 30 years along the shoreline of the South cell. It is no wonder that the clay is all but eaten away by this relentless wave action. New growth is taking root along the North and South banks. The water is up several feet from last year and now that Spring has arrived, the water levels should begin to drop to reveal fertile ground for new growth. I noticed several new Maple saplings along the North East side. These are fast growing trees that can provide habitat for the wildlife here.
I am reminded that a good portion of the beauty here is the result of hard work and planning by the members of COTE (Care of the Earth) and the folks who served on the first Lucas Berg commission. They fought this same fight years ago; some of these folks are still with us now. Take a look at the sign at the corner of 111 street and Oketo, These folks planted the trees and flowers, ensured the area would attract wildlife and tended to the land during its transitional time from gravel pit to nature preserve. We are fortunate to have had these people pave the way for our current efforts to save this land.
In current affairs………..We sent a FOIA request to the ILEPA today. Hopefully this request will provide insight as to the position of the ILEPA concerning the Lucas Berg. More information to follow.
The USACE states that they are down to nine sites and Lucas berg is NOT the top choice to date. We however will continue to assume that it is, until removed completely from selection criteria.
We are still waiting on word from our political representation on legislation from Congressman Lipinski and senator Maloney that would prohibit the use of the Lucas Berg for dredged material placement. We hope that a Senate Resolution will be out soon. More information will follow as it becomes available.
Please take a look at the new files below. We now know that many homes are as near as 60 feet from the project area. Some homes along the South cell are as near as 120 feet (see the file below called Distances from people’s homes). This information has proved helpful in determining a setback zone for our proposed legislation. We also sent out a few questions to the USACE and are awaiting answers (see Questions concerning the use of the Lucas Berg.....).
Please know that we will continue to fight this dredging plan until the battle is won. We wish you and yours a very happy Spring and Easter Sunday.
This past Friday we met with Senator Maloney. It was a very productive meeting and we are assured that a Senate Resolution against the use of Lucas Berg by the USACE is on the way! Senator Maloney was very sympathetic to our plight and has pledged his support. He was very interested in our fight and seems eager to protect the health and well being of our town.
News from Congressman Lipinski's office is that his staff is working on legislation that would prohibit the placement of contaminated dredged material within a certain proximity to people’s homes. This is great progress and can, if worded properly, remove the Lucas Berg from the selection process. We look forward to Congressman Lipinski's legislation and thank him and his staff for his diligence in protecting our health and welfare. Congressman Lipinski has been in the trenches with us since 2006.
As the Ice melts and the waterfowl return to the Lucas berg we are reminded that the time for spring cleaning is at hand. Keep 15 May 2010 open for our clean up. Details to follow soon.
The Swans are back!! Our water fowl friends have returned to the Lucas berg. Now we see our friends the Goose,Robin, Swan ,Mallard, Grebe and Coot begin the Spring ritual as they have for many years here at the Lucas berg. Tracks of the Deer, Possum, Raccoon, Beaver and Coyote litter the landscape and wet soil at Lucas Berg. Welcome to Spring and welcome to the fishermen that will soon line the banks of this beautiful refuge. More updates to follow.
Even with the rain drops, over 100 people gathered at Village Hall to harken in the 2010 Census. We had a chance to shake many framiliar hands and meet some new friends as well. We had a table set up below a large tent and had the opportunity to share current information with the folks who stopped in to get out of the rain.
We also had a chance to announce our meeting schedule and the next Lucas Berg Clean Up. This year we will partner with NICOR and The Village Beautification Committee in an effort to clean up our town. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Clean Up on MAY 15 2010. More info to follow....
For the past few weeks I have been heavily involved in public meetings. These public meetings and correspondance have not been specifically relavant to our Lucas Berg, but have shed some light on the USACE process and the methodology that they employ. I am currently fighting the USACE on a different front. The USACE along with a multi agency government task force are suggesting closures of our waterways to navigation, poisioning of the canal and a myriad of other invasive measures to deal with a lone fish.The asian carp.
Without going in to all of the specific objections I have to the agency's plan, there are some specific coorelations to our issues that I would like to make comment on. It is obvious that the USACE when pressured by Congress will act, swiftly I might add. The USACE is using a certain section in the 2009 appropriations act to justify moving forward with a project that will, in effect, close our waterway for navigation, poision the rivers, kill our fish and destroy 40 years of progress as a result of the Clean Water Act. Under normal circumstances this type of activity would require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) persuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This EIS document would examine all of the important circumstances and known facts. It would in essence be a pro's and con's type of approach to making a decision.
In this case the Army is going to bypass the EIS and act now. This is the type of circumstance that we should bre prepared for. My committee on the Asian carp issue is currently providing alternate solutions to the USACE. I have met several times with command at the Chicago District Corps and Illinois EPA. We hope to convince them that there are other alternatives to Knee jerk reactions but the political pressure, placed by Michigan and Wisconsin has rung a bell. One thing is certain. WE DESPERATELY NEED ALL THE POLITICAL SUPPORT THAT WE CAN GET. The USACE listens to its boss, CONGRESS.
We had a coversation with our USACE contacts yesterday. It appears that the Corps are narrowing down the site list. They had been down from 100+ to 30 as of last week. As of this week they are down to less than 15. Unfortunately, the Lucas Berg is still on the list. They have assured us that the alternatives we suggested and all propertys of the Metropolitan water reclamation district (MWRD) are being considered. There are also indications that the MWRD, as the local sponsors for the project,may purchase canal side property for use as a placement site. Possibly old steel mill grounds that are already heavily laden with similar contaminants. Foth Environmental is conducting core samples to suppliment sediment quality research in our area this month.
Recent communications with Congressman Lipinski's Chief of staff suggests that his office has been reaching out to the Corps to support our effort once again. I am awaiting additional information on this and will post when it becomes available.
The committee has put together a list of questions for the USACE and will be sending this list out this week. Please see the link in the "files" section below ( available soon).We hope to gather additional information, clear up some questions and develop a paper trail with the question and answer list.
We thank THE REPORTER newspaper for the story last week on passage of HR 0655.Take a look at it below.
Great meeting tonight. Thanks to Gene for penning a draft letter to Gov. Quinn, Terrance O'Brian and others. We are calling on our State representation to follow the lead of Rep. Kevin Joyce and Congressman Lipinski to aid the people of Worth in our campaign. Once completed we will post it for you to read. The letter should go out this week. We also will be sending a list of questions to the Army Corps this week. The questions have been generated by the committee in order to gather additional information from the Corps. They have shown interest sending out an update on the project status for the village.
Adele has provided many useful questions that, if answered by the Corps, will surely shed some light on the situation and give cause for greater consideration. Thanks to Joan Silke for her updates on MWRD policy and her contaminant plume analysis research. We look forward to seeing how far these contaminants can go into our Village.
The Corps will soon be meeting with the ILEPA. The ILEPA will have the deciding vote on wether or not the LBP can be used for placement. We hope that ILEPA Director Douglas Scott is observing the mounting resistance to this project. We have spoken to him, sent our observations and continue to monitor the ILEPA website for permit applications.
We are firming up on the LBP clean up for May 15. Exciting news that NICOR will be sponsoring the event. The event will be held in coordination with The Village Beautification Committee and we may have a banner sponsored by PEPSI. More details soon.
A BIG thank you to Rep. Kevin Joyce and his staff for sponsoring H.R 0655 in support of our campaign. On October 13 2009 Rep.Joyce filed the resolution. Please look for the 0655 link below in "files" to read the text version. Last week Kevins office called to say that it would be on the calandar order of resolutions and could be passed by the next day. On January 13 2010 the resolution passed and was adopted by the 96 General assembly! Quick work and well done! this resolution opposes the use of the Lucas Berg Nature Preserve(LBP) for placement of dredged material by the CORPS.
Once again Captain Mike has set a new date for the fall clean up.
Thank You Mike, I am hoping for a good show of people to let the USACE, that they are not welcome here and to release the land to the people. By, going and cleaning the LPB show them how much we care and that we will not waver untill they leave, So, Please join the clean up and help support the Captains efforts. Thank You
Joan Marie Silke
Good Neighbor Committee of South Cook County
This story came from Adele Benck.
You are looking for experiences at the pit so I wrote a short paragraph which you can post on this site. Adele
We had a clean-up at Lucas Berg Pit late in the year about 6 or 7 years ago. It was in June and we had never had a clean-up that late in the Spring before. Ranger Kevin couldn't be there but he sent an intern Ranger who accompanied us through the morning. When we entered at the gate I was astonished. The land was filled on either side with yellow, blue and pink flowers. I have never seen anything so beautiful in a wild area. The Ranger had a camera with him and he took a picture which I requested that he send me. I did not have a camera with me. I was not expecting to see anything so lovely. I never got the picture so I guess it didn't turn out well. I will never forget that sight but I did want to share with others. I never went to Lucas-Berg without a camera again.
Joan Silke Good Neighbor Committee of South Cook County Chairperson 708-361-0790 -email@example.com
Thank you eveyone for your hard work! If you have any question Please ask, Air, Water, Land
We all will be glad to help. HELPING US ! HELPS YOU!
Once again the time is here for the clean up crew ..... I hope many will attend this year. There is much to see and do... It will give you a chance to see WORTH 'S DIAMOND in the Rough. Can't wait for the diamond to shine bright for all to see every-day just not on the clean up days. With help from good folks like you we will have our DIAMOND.
Joan Marie Silke Chairperson
Good Neighbor Committee Of South Cook County
708-361-0790 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Fax same # just call first
Looking West through the fence. Locals have decorated the fence line.