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  1. Illinois DNR
  2. Coastal Management Program

Sand Management


Movement of sand along the Illinois’ Lake Michigan shore is a complex and dynamic process. Coastal Management Program is engaged in research and planning initiatives to assist coastal communities with addressing sand management challenges.​

​Helicopter Time-domain Electromagnetic Mapping of Lake Michigan's Shoreline

The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and their contractor SkyTEM will be conducting helicopter-based surveys of the coastal area from Kenosha, WI south to the Illinois/Indiana state line. These surveys are part of a scientific research program that will gather information on sand location and quantity and will inform the protection and preservation of our coastal assets, such as beaches. Surveys will take place in late March 2017. 

ISGS and SkyTEM will gather data through the use of specialized equipment suspended from a helicopter. The surveys will be conducted along the shore, and the helicopter will not fly over any buildings unless written permission has been obtained from the landowner. This project is funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Management Program through a grant received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 




​Please direct all questions to the IDNR Coastal Management Program at DNR.CMP@illinois.gov​

HTEM Update (April 21, 2017)
During the first week of April 2017 the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) conducted an electromagnetic sand thickness and distribution survey using a helicopter along the Lake Michigan coastline from southeastern Wisconsin to the Illinois and Indiana border. Data collected during the project are currently being processed and results will be shared publically within the next year. The information gathered during this survey will improve the scientific understanding of beach and nearshore processes and will aid coastal managers in planning and decision-making.   

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Illinois North Shore Sand Management

Recognizing the complex nature of shoreline management, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program funded an 18-month project with Alliance for the Great Lakes to facilitate improved collaboration among public landowners on this issue and to enhance long-term capacity. The project kicked off with a meeting with federal, state, and local elected officials in March 2015 to raise awareness of sand management challenges in the region. As a result, the project brought together 42 elected, government, and business officials to discuss their communities’ shoreline management issues, hear from experts, and identify strategies for coordinated action. The final report below summarizes the process, outcomes, and proposed next steps for this effort.

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​In July 2016, Sand Management Working Group Members shared the outcomes of this work with federal, state, and local elected officials. The Coastal Management Program also highlighted new research initiatives and partnerships that will support public shoreline management. Check out the meeting summary below for more details on key topics discussed.