Calumet: An Ecological & Economic Rebirth
The 160-square-mile Calumet region is a study in contrasts. Running along the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Calumet includes a significant portion of the City of Chicago and sweeps east, encompassing Gary, Indiana, and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Once one of the largest wetland complexes in North America, Calumet later became the heart of US industry. Its anchor was steel production.
This heavy industrial development dramatically altered Calumet’s landscape and ecosystems. Slag, a byproduct of steel making, was disposed of along Lake Michigan and in the wetlands. Rivers were dredged and channelized, wetlands were filled, and natural habitat disrupted. Still – and surprisingly – threatened and endangered species still flourish in Calumet in remnant natural areas.
Many of the industries that transformed the Calumet region have disappeared, and with them countless jobs. Numerous industrial sites are now abandoned, dotting the landscape with properties that are contaminated or are perceived to be contaminated, known as brownfields.
Although the region is a classic rustbelt, many industries still thrive there. The remaining natural areas draw recreationists who hope to see the rare bird, catch the big fish, or just enjoy the outdoors. Calumet is undergoing an exciting revitalization. Our unit works with many partners to help local and regional planners and managers decide how to advance the region toward ecological and economic health.
- What Attracts and Repels Visitors to Urban Recreation and Environmental Education Sites?
- Models for Ecological Restoration in Urban Areas: Lessons from the US and Germany
- Eating Sport-caught Fish from an Industrial Urban Area: Anglers Consider the Risks
Most documents linked below are in pdf format - You may obtain a free PDF reader from Adobe.
- Phytoremediation of Chicago's Brownfields: Ecological Aspects and Social Issues
- Hydrologic Evaluation & Stream Restoration Recommendations for Indian Creek
- Special Places in the Lake Calumet Area
- Calumet Area Ecological Management Strategy
- The Field Museum's Journey Through Calumet
Last Modified: 11/04/2014