Lake County Forest Preserve District and many partners implemented the following actions at Chiwaukee Prairie, Spring Bluff, and Illinois Beach State Park: 1) control six widespread invasive plants across 690 acres; 2) eradicate 25 invasive plant populations; 3) restore .36 miles of riparian habitat along Dead Dog Creek; 4) remove two gravel roads; and 5) assess hydrology and vegetation. These actions: 1) decreased competition from invasive plants and facilitated re-establishment of native vegetation structure and integrity; 2) restored 690 acres of coastal communities and helped ensure that plants and animals have adequate refugia in the face of disturbances such as prescribed fire; 3) restored surface water flow in Dead Dog Creek to minimize storm water flow into 150 acres of high quality wetland; 4) reconnected 31 acres of wetland to improve habitat for Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid; and 5) facilitated population increases of threatened and endangered species by enhancing critical habitat and connecting high quality habitat patches.
“This is a great example of federal government and local conservation organizations cooperating to protect unique natural resources of Lake Michigan,” said Ann Maine, President of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “This grant supports vital work that is helping restore health to the Great Lakes basin. The Forest Preserve District is committed to protecting and restoring habitat for the many endangered and threatened species that live in Lake County and affect the surrounding areas.” – By Ann Maine, President, Lake County Forest Preserves