Almost $45 million in federal funding has been approved for projects designed to curb shoreline erosion, clean up local waterways and control flooding.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, on Friday announced that money for eight projects was secured through a joint funding resolution recently signed into law.

Visclosky, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, said the funding will help improve the local environment and the quality of life in Northwest Indiana by attracting and retaining jobs and businesses.

In East Chicago $20.25 million has been earmarked to construct a confined disposal facility to store contaminated sediment dredged from the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal, a federal tributary that's among the most polluted waterways in the nation.

Another $550,000 will be used for operation, maintenance and dredging at Indiana Harbor.

Visclosky said the project fits into his vision to restore the south shore of Lake Michigan.

Visclosky also secured $14 million to help complete the Little Calumet River flood control project. Levees and flood walls are being constructed along the river to protect 11,500 homes from Gary west to the state line.

Flooding along the river causes $11 million in damage every year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Dan Gardner, the Little Calumet Commission's executive director, said the levee work has been already been completed to Kennedy. He said the rest of the levee work is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

The U.S. Army Corps of engineers will use another $4 million to rebuild the Cady Marsh Ditch, a flood control project in Griffith, Highland and unincorporated Lake County.

Other projects that will receive funding include Wolf Lake in Hammond. It will receive $800,000 for environmental restoration.

Visclosky also secured $1 million to fund operations at the Indiana Shoreline Erosion Project along the Indiana Dunes.

Cedar Lake will receive $180,000 for environmental improvements, including deepening the lake and restoring its natural ecosystem.

"Investing in Northwest Indiana's lakes and shorelines will improve our local environment and provide the quality of life opportunities that attract and retain jobs and businesses in Northwest Indiana," Visclosky said.

The congressman also secured $3.59 million for Burns Waterway Harbor in Porter County for continued operation and maintenance.

Visclosky also said $550,000 has been set aside for a feasibility study to determine how to clean up the Grand Calumet River.

Copyright © 2022, Chicago Tribune