One of the most significant features of the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) is its con-structed 24 ha (59 acre) lake system cre-ated in 1967. Since its construction, active bank erosion has resulted in a shoreline that lacks visual appeal and is devoid of aquatic habitat. In fact, the 10.3 km (6.5 mi) of eroded shoreline has lead to the loss of over 0.8 ha (2 acres) of land in the past 30 years. Responding to this concern, the CBG adopted and began to implement 'The Aquatic Initiative' with the goal of creating a preeminent water garden.
The lagoons and shoreline would host beautiful gardens and a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The major objectives of the shoreline restoration initiative were to:
arrest future shoreline erosion
- enhance the aesthetic appeal of the lakes
- create educational plant opportunities
- improve water quality
- enhance habitat
Since the program's implementation in 2000, CBG has rehabilitated four different shoreline garden segments - nearly 3,962 m (13,000 ft.) of shoreline and adjacent gar-dens. Funding assistance has been provided by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.