Friends of the Forest Preserves and many partners restored 705 acres of lake plain habitat at nine sites in the Calumet region. All of the sites, especially the wetlands within them, were threatened by earlier fire suppression, shade, and the encroachment of invasive vegetation. This restoration focused on 605 wetland acres and 100 acres of associated upland sand prairie and sand savanna habitat. The project used a variety of techniques, including hand application of herbicide to invasive herbaceous species, mechanical removal of invasive woody vegetation, and prescribed burning, to restore and maintain habitat at the sites. This work aimed to reduce nonnative and invasive vegetation by 90% and increased native plant diversity by 25%. This project improved and expanded habitat for many rare and imperiled species, including Blanding’s turtle, the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid, and the federally endangered whooping crane.
Calumet River watershed in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana