Skip to main content

Mud to Parks (M2P)


The Mud to Parks Program is a unique, one-of-a-kind program taking river mud and returning the soil to the land. It was envisioned by Illinois' natural resource scientists in the late 1990's to address the sedimentation that is choking Illinois' rivers. Removing the sediment that was once Central Illinois topsoil, and reusing it for parks and wildlife, is a win-win solution for our environments.

Sedimentation is the biggest problem facing Illinois' river systems. In the Illinois River alone, more than 6.6 million tons of sediment go into the river basin annually. Soil eroded from rural and urban areas settles out in rivers, wetlands, detention basins, and water supply lakes. This decreases water storage capacity, reduces navigability, destroys habitat for fish and waterfowl, and impacts other recreational resources. Most river backwaters have lost over 70 percent of their capacity and are now less than two feet deep.

Mud to Parks attempts to find beneficial uses for the sediment that is clogging Illinois' rivers and lakes. The program views sediment as a resource out of place and it seeks to find innovative projects that reuse the sediment as topsoil.

The Mud to Parks Program is not limited to parks. The hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment that are dredged annually in Illinois are an under utilized resource that can provide economic benefits through innovative reuse. To date, sediment has been reused as final cover for a landfill, reclaimed a strip mine, and covered an old industrial site.


The Mud to Parks Grants Program provides financial assistance for beneficial sediment reuse projects. Applicable projects can include, but are not limited to, reusing sediment as landscaping materials, soil amendments, reclamation site cover, or construction fill. For draft application materials go to the Application page.