The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

Current Headlines

Army Corps, State Contribute $591,000 for Restoration Efforts



Photo for: Army Corps, State Contribute $591,000 for Restoration Efforts

Braidwood Dunes

Two partner organizations will contribute $591,000 to Forest Preserve District restoration efforts at four preserves located in the Crest Hill and Braidwood areas.

An agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide $469,000 for ongoing restoration work at Prairie Bluff Preserve in Crest Hill. And a southern Will County preserve region known as the Braidwood Sands Area will receive a $122,000 grant from the Illinois Special Wildlife Fund.

Restoration funding from outside sources helps the Forest Preserve return the land it owns back to its natural state, which is one of the District’s core missions, said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s chief operating officer.

“We are committed to doing this over time,” he said. “But when we have partnerships like this, it allows us to accelerate the process.”

Prairie Bluff-Lockport Prairie

A previous agreement with the Army Corps provided $2.5 million to restore 367 acres at Prairie Bluff and the adjacent Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. Groundwater that flows from Prairie Bluff is critical for the survival of rare and endangered species living at Lockport Prairie.

The recently announced partnership award will restore an additional 67 acres at Prairie Bluff. The Army Corps is funding the work as part of its aquatic ecosystem restoration project, which began this summer. The project involves replacing agricultural fields with native prairie plants at Prairie Bluff, removing invasive species at both preserves, using prescribed burning to keep the prairies healthy and improving the underground water flow at Prairie Bluff.

“Now that the crops have been harvested, the contractor who was hired to perform the work will wait for frozen ground conditions to seed the area with prairie plants and a cover crop,” Schultz explained.

A cool season cover crop will help protect the soil from erosion and aid in weed prevention. In addition to seeding, plant plugs will be included in the restoration mix to jump-start some areas.

Braidwood Sands Area

 

The wildlife fund grant will be used for continued savanna restoration work at two preserves located in Custer Township near Braidwood: Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve and Sand Ridge Savanna Nature Preserve. These are two of the five preserves that make up the larger Braidwood Sands Area, which also includes state-owned land. 

The wildlife fund grant will help the District create an ecological balance for wildlife and native plants in the area, said Andrew Hawkins, the Forest Preserve's director of planning and development.

“It is always encouraging to see multiple agencies and organizations working together for the greater good,” he said. “A great deal of planning and groundwork has been invested into the Braidwood Sands Area, and we are now really starting to see some positive results from all of the efforts.”

The project will involve invasive species control, tree and shrub thinning, and seeding of local prairie and savanna species. The restoration efforts benefit wildlife and foster biodiversity, Hawkins added. “But they also provide an enjoyable natural experience for preserve patrons who visit the multiple access areas and trail systems located in the region.”

An additional $265,000 in local funds will be combined with the wildlife fund grant to accomplish this portion of the ongoing restoration work. Since 2011, the Forest Preserve has invested more than $2.1 million for Braidwood Sands Area restoration and management.

____________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

News

Rescued Pelican Released Into the Wild at McKinley Woods

10/22/2019

The Will County preserve was the perfect spot for the Willowbrook Wildlife Center's release because a flock of pelicans was resting there on its migratory journey south. 

Read More


'Only Owls' Art Exhibition Coming to Isle a la Cache Museum

10/21/2019

The traveling exhibition will run from November 5-December 29 and it features 40 pieces of owl-themed art in pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, and woodcut from the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.  

Read More


Deadline to Order 2020 Dog Park Calendars Extended

10/21/2019

The new deadline to order a dog park calendar is November 6, and the calendars will still be shipped the week of November 25 in time for the holidays.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter