Revitalizing and restoring Cook County’s rich ecosystem
Since 1916, Deer Grove Forest Preserve has been a rich addition to the Cook County, Illinois, community—we aim to keep it that way. Working in partnership with multiple private and public agencies, our environmental team was brought in to provide ecological restoration and long-term monitoring for a 185-acre segment of this heavily used forest preserve.
After numerous assessments, we developed an ecosystem restoration and enhancement management and monitoring plan. The goal? Revitalize the area’s wetlands, prairies, and oak woodlands. Invasive trees and shrubs that crowded the ancient woodland habitats (preventing sunlight from reaching ground-level plants) were removed and replaced with colorful, varied native grasses and wildflowers. We also conducted controlled burns, an important natural catalyst in the development of healthy ecosystems.
Services included water quality improvements, hydrologic evaluation and alterations, erosion control, seedbed preparation, and stream stabilizations. We also completed extensive baseline and post-construction monitoring studies—vegetation surveys have been conducted on an annual basis to evaluate our work and inform our adaptive management approach for this ongoing, long-term, collaborative effort. The result? A happy, healthy, undisturbed ecosystem. When vegetation matures, approximately 450 tons of carbon will be sequestered per year.
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