Navy Pier Project Serves as Model for Natural Infrastructure Techniques

The Takeaway: A grant from the coastal management program helped turn this old pier into a public, environment-friendly space.

A major redevelopment project at Chicago’s Navy Pier resulted in the upgrading of 50 acres of urban lakefront while addressing the impact of unfiltered stormwater running off the pier and into the Chicago River.

A desire to update the pier’s stormwater management system provided a good opportunity to implement green infrastructure techniques to reduce flooding and pollutants. Navy Pier applied for a grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program and received a $125,000 award to apply toward this innovative approach. As a result, approximately 43,000 square feet of permeable pavement and 77 tree tubs are in place, capturing the runoff. Based on Chicago’s annual average precipitation of 27.1 inches, the system has the capacity to detain and slowly release 2.3 million gallons of water per year. This project demonstrated a model of sustainability that is improving the health and vitality of the local community and inspiring future adaptation projects.

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Partners: Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program, Navy Pier, Inc.