Chicago Park District


Chicago Park District

Project Cost


Market Sector

Parks & Forest Preserves


Contracting & Construction Management, Environmental, Water Resources, Wetlands & Ecology

Big Marsh Park Environmental Remediation & Habitat Restoration

Chicago, Illinois

  • V3 Companies worked with the Park District to develop habitat restoration and environmental remediation plans for the ecological revitalization and passive eco-recreational use of the site.
  • A detailed wetland delineation and plant community mapping was conducted for the 300 acre site.
  • Challenges included practical habitat and native plant establishment in highly degraded environments, while mitigating the human health and ecotoxicological risks posed by site contaminants, the presence of sensitive species and planned eco-recreational use.
  • Field investigations included the environmental sampling of site soils, wetland sediments, groundwater, primary forage plants and fauna within the food chain.
  • Primary contaminants of concern at the site include heavy metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • A portion of the site also suffered from hyper-alkaline surface waters as a result of leaching from the extensive slag fills.
  • Advanced human health and ecological risk assessments were performed in accordance with the Calumet Area Ecotoxicology Protocol and Illinois EPA risk-based cleanup methods.
  • V3 evaluated and designed hydrologic improvements through water control structures, provided species selection and habitat design for the native restoration with the dual goal of restoring native plant communities and improving ecosystem quality via phytoremediation.
  • V3 worked with Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois, Chicago, to evaluate the phytoremediation qualities of the selected plants.
  • Design plans balance practical soil rehabilitation in conjunction with phyto and traditional remediation while ensuring that the restoration protects the public and the sensitive species using restored habitats.
  • USACEĀ  regional permits were obtained for two road crossings and the overall hydrologic and ecological restoration of the property.
  • This project was recognized by the Friends of the Chicago River for a high level of river-sensitive design. The project was awarded the 2016 Green Ribbon for hydrological restoration.