The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District has released for public review the Feasibility Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment titled, Tonica Cemeteries, Bailey Creek, LaSalle County, Illinois, Continuing Authorities Program Section 14 Emergency Streambank Protection dated May 2019. The District invites the public to review and provide comments regarding the alternative analysis for this project. A finalized report will be released following the public comment period.
A copy of the Feasibility Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment can be found on the TONICA PROJECT WEBSITE or a paper copy or CD can be requested by contacting Ms. Bethany Hoster with the Corps of Engineers Environmental Compliance Branch at 309-794-5256, email: CEMVR_Planning@usace.army.mil, or by writing to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District
ATTN: Bethany Hoster
Clock Tower Building – PO Box 2004
Rock Island, IL 61204-2004
Comments will be accepted through July 18, 2019.
The Tonica Cemeteries, Bailey Creek – Continuing Authorities Program Section 14 Project (Project) is located along a portion of Bailey Creek in Tonica, LaSalle County, Illinois. The Project is authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1946) Section 14 of, as amended; titled, Emergency Streambank Protection. The Project area includes an approximately 800-foot stretch of Bailey Creek where it travels between two cemeteries.
Bailey Creek has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of rain events since 2013. Significant scour has occurred on both banks, beginning to erode into two local cemeteries. The Tonica Cemetery Association, the Project’s non-federal sponsor operates both cemeteries. Major flood events in 2013, 2015, and 2016 significantly accelerated the erosion along the left and right banks of Bailey Creek. According to the Tonica Cemetery Association, seven feet of embankment was lost during the last flood event in April 2016.
The infrastructure at risk in the project area includes the Brookside and Fairview Cemeteries, collectively referred to as the “Tonica Cemeteries.” The Tonica Cemeteries are at different elevations and on opposite banks of the creek, and they have been in use since the early 1800s. Current calculations estimate approximately 130 marked graves are at risk within 100 feet of erosion areas: 45 along the right descending bank of Bailey Creek and 85 along the left descending bank. However, in older cemeteries such as these, there is a strong likelihood of unmarked graves being in the erosion areas as well. As such, there could be multiple unmarked graves at risk within 100 feet of erosion areas.
Federal action is required to reduce the potential for damages to existing infrastructure. Due to the frequency and severity of bank erosion and the eminent potential for marked and unmarked graves to be exposed, emergency streambank protection is required.
PROPOSED AND ALTERNATIVE ACTIONS
The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) would stabilize the erosion by placing two sections of longitudinal peak stone toe protection (LPSTP) along eroding bank line. The upper section would be on the left descending bank of Bailey Creek, upstream of the cemetery and extending approximately 400 feet downstream of the cemetery. The lower section would be on the right descending bank, beginning upstream of the Fairview cemetery and extending approximately 330 feet downstream.
The District considered eight alternatives during the planning process. The EA describes each alternative in detail.
- No Federal Action
- Alternative 1: Channel Realignment
- Alternative 2: Longitudinal Peak Stone Toe Protection
- Alternative 3: Full Bank Riprap
- Alternative 4: Relocation of Graves
- Alternative 5: Bioengineering
- Alternative 6: Gabion Baskets
- Alternative 7: Concrete Lined Channel