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Tonica Cemetery, Tonica, IL - CAP Section 14

Published March 11, 2020

The Tonica Cemeteries is located along a portion of Bailey Creek in Tonica, LaSalle County, Illinois

The Project area includes an approximately 800-foot stretch of Bailey Creek where it travels between two cemeteries. 
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.  

Bailey Creek 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 sponsor is concerned that if the area is left untreated and unprotected, graves may be lost, which would have significant costs to reinter the remains.

The Federal Interest Determination was approved on January 11, 2018.  A feasibility report with environmental assessment was approved January 27, 2020.  The project is began Design and Implementation in February 2020 with funding to develop a Project Partnership Agreement.

Additional Information

Congressional Interest

Senators: Richard Durbin (IL), Tammy Duckworth (IL)

Representatives: IL-16 (Adam Kinzinger)

CA - Continuing Authorities - Section 14

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost    $511,000
Estimated Non-Federal Cost  $221,310
Estimated Total Project Cost  $732.310
Allocations Prior to FY 2020 $100,000
FY 2020 Allocation  $50,000 
FY 2020 Total Capability  $50,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2020:
  Execute Project Partnership Agreement and initiate project design.