The Lake County Forest Preserve District and partners received a grant to restore 1,158 acres of coastal habitat along the Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain (Lake Plain). This area represents the highest quality dune and swale coastal ecosystem remaining along the southwestern shoreline of Lake Michigan, but invasive plants continue to threaten habitats in this area. The southern 986 acres of the project area is located in the Extended Study Area of the Waukegan Harbor Area of Concern (AOC) where work is contributing to the delisting of the “loss of fish and wildlife habitat” beneficial use impairment. Goals of the project include: 1) restoration of 548 acres of coastal wetlands by reducing abundance of high risk invasive wetland plants and increasing the floristic quality index; 2) expansion of eastern prairie fringed orchid (EPFO) suitable habitat across 535 acres by reducing invasive shrub abundance; 3) continued restoration of EPFO and Blanding’s turtle nesting habitat by removing small invasive woody stem regrowth on 60 acres; 4) 50% increase in nest success of Blanding’s turtle by reducing the threats from meso-predator populations and eliminating 10 acres of edge habitat; 5) eradication and containment of seven early detection invasive plant species across the 4000-acre Lake Plain; and 6) increased long-term capacity for prescribed burn management by offering free, basic fire training for at least 15 partners in the Lake Plain.
Kenosha , Wisconsin and Lake County, Illinois along 13 miles of Lake Michigan