Division of Conservation Planning
Midwest Region

See the Final EA

The Final Environmental Assessment (EA) completed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in August 1999 is provided here in portable document format (pdf). To see the files, you need Acrobat Reader software, and it is available for free on the Adobe web site. The EA is provided as one very large document and also by chapter in much smaller files.

Full EA (8.6 MB)

Summary (1.2 MB)

Chapter 1: Purpose and Need for Action (2 MB)
Chapter 2: Description of Alternatives (906 KB)
Chapter 3: The Affected Environment (901 KB)
Chapter 4: Environmental Consequences (1.1 MB)
Corrected Map of Alternative 5, the Preferred Alternative (407 KB)
Chapter 5: List of Preparers, References and Glossary (454 KB)
Appendix 1: Economic Impact Assessment (6.6 MB)
Appendix 2: Frequently Asked Questions (1.2 MB)
Appendix 3: Service/Corps Cooperative Agreement (900 KB)
Appendices 4 and 5: Chronology of Important Events on the Kankakee River, and Planning Process and Schedule (393 KB)
Appendix 6: Newsletters (2.4 MB)

Grand Kankakee Marsh Cover of the Grand Kankakee Marsh NWR Environmental Assessment

Grand Kankakee Marsh Then and Now
Restoring the Marsh
About the National Wildlife Refuge System
Next Steps
For More Information

The Grand Kankakee Marsh Then and Now

With 500,000 acres in eight counties in northwestern Indiana, the Grand Kankakee Marsh was one of the great freshwater wetland ecosystems of the world. This unique landscape was important for its diverse composition of fish, wildlife and plants, and it was renown for its abundance of waterfowl and wetland-dependent wildlife.

Draining the land for agriculture and development changed the landscape and dispersed the wildlife that depended on it. Of the wetlands remaining in Indiana, only a small percentage remain as they existed 200 years ago, and few support their original complement of plants and animals.

Restoring the Marsh

Reviving the grandeur of the Grand Kankakee Marsh has been a goal for many individuals and organizations. In the 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) studied the potential for restoring part of the Marsh by creating a national wildlife refuge. The Service completed an Environmental Assessment in 1999 and made a finding of no significant impact in establishing the proposed refuge. However, over the past decade, multiple conservation funding needs limited the Service's ability to proceed with this project.

Local initiatives have been active in restoring the Marsh using a combination of partners, grants and local government. The Indiana Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project, or IGKMRP, is a volunteer organization that has brought a variety of partners together on a variety of restoration projects.

The IGKMRP works to buy restorable wetlands and associated upland from willing sellers and restore natural wetland and upland conditions as much as possible before transferring ownership to government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

The organization has completed 83 projects, including restoration of 5,774 acres, acquisition of 8,932 acres, and enhancing 3,700 acres.

About the National Wildlife Refuge System

The National Wildlife Refuge System is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is the world's largest collection of lands and waters specifically managed for fish and wildlife. Overall, it provides habitat for more than 5,000 species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects. Refuges serve a crucial role in preserving endangered species, and they provide unique wildlife-dependent recreation and education opportunities for people.

National wildlife refuges also have an economic benefit for communities, according to a report prepared by the Service, "Banking on Nature." More information is available on the National Wildlife Refuge System website and in "Banking on Nature," (5.2 MB), which is available in portable document format.

Next Steps

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff has long recognized the conservation importance of the Kankakee and Iroquois watersheds.  We have an ongoing interest in supporting conservation efforts in the watershed and believe that a partnership approach is the best means to achieve conservation objectives.  For more than a decade now the Service has supported conservation work in the area through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

The Service continues to be interested in restoration of portions of the Grand Kankakee Marsh. Our role in supporting that restoration and other conservation efforts in the watersheds, including establishment of a wildlife refuge, will depend upon funding and partnership opportunities. The Service is interested in any opinions that people may wish to share regarding the proposed conservation issues in the Kankakee and Iroquois Watershed. See the next section for information on how to contact the Midwest Region's Regional Office.

For More Information

For more information on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's involvement in conservation efforts in the Kankakee Watershed or to express an opinion, you are welcome to call, write or e-mail the Division of Conservation Planning:

E-mail the Division of Conservation Planning at: r3planning@fws.gov

Call the Division at: 1-800-247-1247
Write to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Conservation Planning
Attention: Kankakee Conservation
5900 American Blvd. West, Suite 990
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458

Last updated: March 26, 2014
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