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Cary Park District
Jaycee Park
Cary, Illinois
David Raica
Cary Park District
255 Briargate Road
Cary, Illinois  60013

Tel:  (847) 639-6100
Fax: (847) 639-6290
Email: draica@carypark.com

Jaycee Park pond was originally developed as a retention pond for a 30 acre commercial center. The pond provides retention for approximately a 200-300 acre watershed.  The contractors placed spoils from the pond excavation onto the park area and rough graded the space. The site was unfriendly and uncomfortable.  The shoreline was eroding and the area was covered by hundreds of Canada Geese each spring, summer, and fall.

The Park District created stabilized shorelines and increased fishing habitat.  The shared use trail winds through park, prairie, and wetland, giving all users of the site a friendly manner in which to explore and appreciate native Midwest ecosystems.

Initiated in June 1999, Jaycee Park is a 15 acre reclaimed and recreated park space. It is appreciated by our local flora, fauna, and residents and has become a key part of the community of Cary and Chicago Wilderness. Jaycee Park prairies and wetland areas show the public how small natural areas can function and how they can begin to restore and enhance our fragmented landscape.  Staff has worked with adjacent developers to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of adjacent parcels, park buffer and increase the sustainability of the natural environment.

63rd Street Beach Underpass
Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Department of Transportation
Chicago Park District
Illinois Department of Transportation

Chris Wuellner
Email: cwuellner@cityofchicago.org

Chris Gent
Email: chris.gent@chicagoparkdistrict.com

As part of the South Lakeshore Drive Reconstruction Project, the Chicago Department of Transportation has installed a three acre native grassland adjacent to an existing historic beach. The $103 million roadway and sewer reconstruction project included a new landscaped pedestrian underpass which provides access from adjacent neighborhoods to Lake Michigan. The landscape architect designed the plantings to feel like an adventurous walk through the hills of a backdune. The planting is comprised primarily of native trees, shrubs, and grasses found in remnant natural shoreline areas south of the city. The result is a sustainable planting which stabilizes the underpass slopes, increases biodiversity, does not require mowing or supplemental watering, and provides an interpretive opportunity for residents to learn more about the regional ecology. 

Oakbrook Terrace Park District
The Garden Walk
Lake View Nature Center
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Becky Lambert
17 W 063 Hodges Road
Oakbrook Terrace,  Illinois  60181

Tel:  (630) 941-8747
Fax: (630) 941-8747
Email: lvnc@obtpd.org

You would never expect to find this beautiful garden walk surrounded by towering office buildings and across from the busy Oak Brook Center. This native landscape garden walk project is located within Terrace View Park, in a floodplain zone.

Visitors to the Park and/or Lake View Nature Center enjoy this beautiful-acre garden walk that takes them from a butterfly garden to a water garden to a sensory garden, and then to a teaching garden. Each garden area showcases native plants and highlights natural land management techniques, such as burning.

Prior to installation of native plants watering was needed on a regular basis, but now it is no longer needed because the plants are drought resistant.  Based on the ecological management plan, prescribed burns are done every other year or as needed. Mowing is done when burning is not, to control the weeds. Seeds are collected before the burn/mow and dispersed after.

St. Charles Park District
Native Plant Demonstration Garden
St. Charles, Illinois
Mary Ochsenschlager
St. Charles Park District
8 North Avenue
St. Charles, Illinois  60174

Tel:  (630) 584-1885 x425
Fax: (630) 584-7413
Email: maryo@st-charlesparks.org

The St. Charles Park District planted the Native Plant Demonstration Garden in 1991 in response to expressed interest in native plants by the public. It's goal is to educate people on what native plants are available, what conditions they like, and how they can be used to solve problems and encourage wildlife. The one acre garden is managed more like a garden than a restoration. People seem to identify with and appreciate the plants more when they see them planted in a more traditional manner. Along the path the plants are in beds and a more natural look is located in the center of the garden.  There is one tour a month during the growing season and one or two in the off season. The garden is used for nature study for preschool programs. 

The management and use of this site is geared to promoting native plants to replace typical garden species and in educating the public on why biodiversity is important. It also seeks to educate people on how to use vegetation to protect sensitive areas such as drainages and low land. In other words the purpose of the garden is to encourage sustainable use of the land.  The site is on the banks of the Fox River. Run-off from the roof of the community center and the maintenance bay is filtered through many plants before it reaches the river. The runoff does not directly enter the river, but rather it is absorbed by the native plants in the garden.

The Villa Park Police Station
Villa Park, Illinois 
Vydas Juskelis
Village of Villa Park Public Works Department
20 S Ardmore
Villa Park, Illinois  60181

Tel:  (630) 834-8505
Fax: (630) 834-8509
Email: juskelis@invillapark.com

Completed in October 2004, the Villa Park Police Station is the newest and most creative addition to the Villa Park community.  The new Villa Park “green” Police Station promotes infill development as it is a new development on what was once a vacant site.  The cooperation of engineers, architects, contractors, and the Village resulted in the development of a structure that was suitable to the Police Department’s needs while using environmentally responsible principles.  In addition, the new structure and property improve water retention by drastically decreasing runoff, a problem of great concern for this mostly built-out watershed.  Three major components were utilized to prevent runoff from the site: a “Green Roof”, bioretention swales, and permeable paving in the parking lot. In keeping with the environmentally responsible goal, the Police Station also contains recycled materials in its décor.    

Environmental concern, responsibility and conservation were the main themes in design and construction of this Police Station.  A recycling program was initiated for construction materials that could be recycled.  In addition, some construction materials were made from previously recycled materials, including recycled gypsum drywall materials, special paint, washroom tiles made of recycled airplane windows, and wallpaper from a grassy fiber from the Philippines. These features diverted over 75% of waste from municipal sanitary landfills. Low-flow, low water usage plumbing fixtures will mean the Police Station will use 30% less water than a structure with typical fixtures. An exterior wall that stores and releases energy, tinted windows, a heat recovery ventilation system and an enthalpy economizer are estimated to make the Villa Park Police Station about 33% more energy efficient.
The development protects natural resources and habitat in numerous ways.  For example, the Police Station site was developed to retain all runoff for up to an approximately one-year storm event through the use of bioretention swales, a permeable paving system, and a “green” roof.  As a result of these three components, the site meets the 100-year detention release rate of 0.10 cfs/ac required by the Village and DuPage County.  Furthermore, the development of the site ensures that there should be no runoff from the site for up to an approximately 1-year storm event.    

No Village water is  necessary for irrigation, thereby conserving water.  Furthermore, plants native to Illinois were introduced to the site, eliminating the need for pesticides that pollute the environment and further decreasing runoff as the plants will use the retained water.

Corporate Winner (including non-profit corporations)

Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid Habitat Management
Abbott Park,  Illinois 
Gene Fuller
200 Abbott Park Road
Abbott Park,  Illinois  60064-6212

Tel:  (847) 937-5388
Fax: (847) 938-5294
Email: Eugene.Fuller@abbott.com

Abbott successfully restored a high quality prairie on their property which provides habitat for the Prairie White-Fringed Orchid. Only small, local populations of the rare Prairie White-Fringed Orchid are found in scattered counties of central and northern Illinois. It is listed as 'endangered' by the state of Illinois, and is considered 'threatened' by the U.S. government.  At one time, this orchid was far more common, and hundreds of plants could be observed blooming in prairie habitat, particularly near the Chicago region. Habitat destruction and over-collection brought this joyful abundance to an end. 

Abbott’s management activities include burns, loosestrife removal, and an annual bird count.  Run off water drains thru this prairie into the north branch of the Chicago River. The Prairie White-Fringed Orchid habitat will be maintained as permanent natural area.

Tuscan Hills
Monee, Illinois 
Jim Paul
The Development
25634 S. Kensington Lane
Monee, Illinois  60449

Tel:  (708) 534-2734
Fax: (708 Alps) 534-1662
Email: alps@alpsdevelopment.com

Tuscan Hills The Development is in Will County, Illinois on a former farmsite.  The developer designed this 95 acre development to include 54% open space.  The developer identified features of the property (a pond and wetland) with good natural resource quality. They developed the community plan around these protected features. The areas of open space have a prescribed native plan to help improve water quality and promote habitat. Each home site backs up to open space. The developer believes that as residence become more knowledgeable about nature that they will come to respect it and appreciate more.

Tuscan Hills provides for permanent open space which has recorded on the Final Plat showing these as protected areas. Covenants are recorded explaining these areas are protected zones.  Many of the management mechanisms put in place at this site were put together through a partnership between the developer and the Conservation Foundation.

The Conservation Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on preserving open space and protecting rivers and lakes, has a program it administers called Conservation @ Home.

The program advises homeowners on how they can design and maintain their properties in ways that are protective of the environment. Staff from the Conservation @ Home program worked with Alps Development on the language for the contacts and covenants, on best management practices, and on signage and educational materials for homeowners about the native plants and open space incorporated into the development. The partnership with Conservation @ Home was an innovative and beneficial part of the development process for Tuscan Hills.    

Chicago Botanic Garden
Lake and Shoreline Enhancement
Glencoe, Illinois
Bob Kirschner
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, Illinois  60022

Tel:  (847) 835-6837
Fax: (847) 835-1635
Email: bkirschn@chicagobotanic.org 

Through the Lake and Shoreline Enhancement Program the Chicago Botanic Garden enhanced its lake system, and in so doing, demonstrates to public and professional audiences innovative and effective approaches for using native plants to restore and protect urban lake ecosystems.  Beginning in June 2000, the Garden began restoring its most critically eroding shorelines.  Wetland habitats along its lakeshores -- previously measured in inches -- now expand out from the lake edge by 30 feet or more.

Since spring 2002, over 250,000 native plants have been used to vegetate 2.5 miles of the Chicago Botanic Garden's lakeshores.  Representing over 140 native taxa, these plantings provide a rich diversity of habitat for frogs, turtles, fish, wading birds, aquatic insects, and other aquatic life on about 9 acres.  Plant species were carefully chosen for their ability to anchor shoreline soils and withstand environmental stresses inherent to urban waterways.  

Innovative bioengineering approaches for creating stable, shallow-water planting "shelves" along the shoreline allow newly-planted native plants to flourish and anchor shoreline soils. Creative uses of interplanted stones and boulders, as well as specialized plastic mesh and webbing materials, further help stabilize the shoreline edge and protect newly installed aquatic plantings.  

Ecological management includes removal of terrestrial and aquatic invasive plant species, prescribed burns in some areas (other restored areas are intentionally left unburned to serve as control plots for prescribed burn research); comprehensive water quality monitoring; transient and resident waterfowl monitoring; turtle population monitoring; mussel population monitoring; fish population monitoring; and annual documentation of plant survival, planting bed expansion/contraction, and relative resistance to herbivory from waterfowl, deer, muskrats, etc.

Both private and public funds have been used to support the Garden's ambitious efforts, including significant assistance from the U.S. and Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies' Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Management program, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Section 206 Ecosystem Restoration program.

Buffalo Grove Prairie
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Sara Race
Three Lincoln Centre
Oakbrook Terrace :IL  60181

Tel:  (630) 437-2565
Fax: (630) 576-6351
Email: sara.race@exeloncorp.com

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is one of the largest landowners in Illinois with approximately 40,000 acres under its management.  Transmission rights-of-way are the perfect corridors to connect plants and animals to the various remaining native habitats. To restore biodiversity, reduce maintenance costs, improve public relations with stakeholders, and learn more about carbon sequestration, ComEd initiated a Prairie Program to plant native prairie species on transmission rights of way and buffers.  

ComEd’s Prairie Program began in the 1990s and to date is working in partnerships to restore more than 150 acres of land to prairie habitats at thirteen sites in northern Illinois.

The Buffalo Grove Prairie is on a ten acre site which is part of a transmission right-of-way owned by ComEd.  The volunteer Buffalo Grove Prairie Guardians (BGPG) has managed the site since 1989.  In 2003, the BGPG and ComEd initiated a management plan to improve the health of the ecosystem.  Management activities include bimonthly workdays for brush and weed control, prescribed burns, and plant inventory/transect  studies.  A fence around the 10-acre parcel was constructed to discourage the use of off-road vehicles on the sensitive area.  Interpretive signage is also placed on the site to inform visitors, employees of companies on adjacent properties, and contractors working on the right-of-way of the sensitive nature of the site.

Harbor Springs Property Owners’ Association
Wetland Enhancement
Aurora, Illinois

This 6 acre project consisted of restoring a wetlands in a suburban development.  Guided by an ecological management plan, the wetlands were restored to a more natural state, using native species and removing non-native species.   The function of the land increased, as did species diversity and water quality.  The wetland plants, along with minor grading, also helped abate an erosion problem along the pond shoreline. Additionally, the aesthetic value has now increased, and less maintenance is required as compared to traditional ornamental landscaping or turf grass.

In this wetland enhancement project 12,000 native plants were installed, 35 lbs. of native seed per acre, 50 lbs. of Mycorrhizal inoculant (fungus) per acre, 5 lbs. of Rhizobial inoculant (bacteria) per acre, 40 birdhouses, 5 mallard houses, 5 wood duck houses, and
5 descriptive signs.  The wetland now acts as a natural filter within the watershed.  The water sits in the wetland before moving down the watershed, and the plants filter out any excess chemicals such as phosphorus and inorganic nitrogen. 

The wetland provides habitat for mallard, barn swallow, cormorant, heron, egret, red wing blackbird, woodcock, killdeer, green-wing teal, blue-wing teal, sand piper, scalp, pintails, redheads, dragonflies, monarchs, muskrat, and many amphibians including leopard frogs.  

Pesticides are used where necessary to remove non-native species, but only after all alternatives have been rejected.  Any chemicals used have the lowest environmental impact for the task at hand.  Other means to remove non-native species include fire, cutting, and hand removal.  After the native plants were established, the irrigation systems around edge of common area were removed.

Presentations were given to Harbor Springs Property Owners’ Association to explain how land is to be maintained, the importance of keeping chemicals and debris out, and future enhancements. Property owners were also encouraged to use native landscaping on their own property.  Wetland plants, such as hibiscus, with colorful flowers were used to gain acceptance by the residents.  By educating the public about the function and importance of their natural area they have learned a cost effective way to keep the site healthy and beautiful.

The Madison Club
Madison Club Homeowners Association
Burr Ridge, Illinois

This 13 acre project demonstrates the restoration of an oak-hickory savanna & wetland in a subdivision setting.  Following the ecological management plant for the site, invasive species such as cattails, reed canary grass, and purple loosestrife were removed to promote growth of native species and a more stable ecosystem.  Where soil previously eroded away into a pond, wetland plants now stabilize the area.  Continued stewardship efforts help to ensure the long-term success of this project.

Previously the remnant Oak – Hickory Savanna was infested with buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), boxelder (Acer negundo), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and other invasives.  The wetland was infested with cattails (Typha spp.) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea).

Initiated in 1998, native seeds were sown along with Mycorrhizal Inoculant (fungus) and Rhizobial Inoculant (bacteria), native plants and shrubs were planted, and an osprey nesting structure and bluebird houses were installed.  After the native plants were established, fertilizer and watering was no longer necessary. 

Clearing of invasive plants allows room for more native plants to grow and thus increases biodiversity. These native plants also create a more stable community, restoring ecological health.  Prescribed fires on the site serve to remove brush, recycle nutrients, and promote growth of native species.  Chemical pesticides are used only after all alternatives have been rejected.  Any chemicals used have lowest environmental impact for the task at hand. Herbicides are used to remove non-native species.

The Morton Arboretum
Meadow Lake
Lisle, Illinois
Kurt Dreisilker
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, Illinois  60532

Tel:  (630) 725-2093
Fax: (630) 719-2433
Email: kdreisilker@mortonarb.org

The Morton Arboretum restoration of Meadow Lake began with one year of monitoring different components of the lake, including lake levels, groundwater levels, suspended sediment, fish species, and others.  This information provided a solid foundation for the work necessary to improve water quality and reduce drastic fluctuation in water levels.  

Meadow Lake was drained, dredged, and graded appropriately to establish native aquatic and terrestrial species along its shorelines.  Native plants were installed according to their appropriate moisture gradient.  These plantings were designed to include solid drifts of rooted-floating and emergent plants within the water, and blending into mixed drifts of wet-mesic plants upland.  The design includes drifts of one or several species to provide color and texture throughout the entire year.

The core of this project was to reduce stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution into the watershed in order to reduce downstream flooding and improve overall water quality.

Meadow Lake was enlarged from 4.5 to 5.2 surface acres and dredged to retain a larger volume of stormwater, while the pervious parking lot increases the lag-time of stormwater entering the DuPage River.  This design helps to protect downstream properties and water bodies from flooding while cleansing the runoff as it flows into Meadow Lake. Meadow Lake also slowly accepts water from the adjacent, pervious parking lot.  This newly designed parking lot filters and cleanses stormwater before it reaches Meadow Lake by allowing water to filter first through its surface and gravel substrate, planted bioswales, and planted wetland.  This parking lot is designed to reduce the total volume of stormwater draining into Meadow Lake while cleansing it in the process.

The adjacent parking lot’s pervious surface and bioswales filter and cleanse pollutants in stormwater before reaching Meadow Lake, therefore increasing water quality and decreasing runoff in the process.  

This project protects natural resources and habitat by:  

Motorola Prairie Development Schaumburg, Illinois   
Neil McCloud
1301 E. Algonquin Road
Schaumburg, Illinois  60196

Tel:  (847) 576-5507
Fax: (847) 576-2652
Email: Neil.Mccloud@motorola.com

In conjunction with the Schaumburg Biodiversity Plan, in June 2004 Motorola, embarked on a project to retro-fit to restructure and stabilize 6.7 acres along the North and Northwest portion of its corporate campus.  The project was divided into three phases and spanned a period of two years to completion.   

The first phase was to retrofit the area around the wetlands and the prairie turf in the northwest property corner with 40 different flowers and native plants along with a closed loop interpretive path that associates or public may use to view the natural habitat.  The second phase restructured and stabilized the deteriorating 2500 foot long North drainage ditch with coconut logs and retrofitted it with native plants and grasses 15 feet on either side of the ditch.  Phase three involved the restructure and stabilization of a 300 foot section of outfall stream with coconut matte and retro-fitted with native flowers and grasses.

The wetlands and prairie supports insects, song birds, deer, rabbits, fish, fox, beavers, blue herons, and mallard ducks.  The retrofitted prairie blends into a five acre wetland.  The prairie path is open for our associates to walk through, and is available to grade schools, scouting organizations and the public.

The Motorola Prairie Development received recognition in the annual Global Corporate Citizenship Report.

Sanctuary of Bull Valley
Woodstock, Illinois   
Jack Porter
Jack Porter & Associates, Inc.
700 McHenry Avenue
Woodstock, Illinois  60098

Tel:  (815) 334-8366
Fax: (815) 334-8265
Email: jporter50@sbcglobal.net

This 200 acre conservation development has 105 estate lots. Over 50% of the land area is restored to natural oak-hickory savannas and prairies. Each lot has a defined buildable area, determined by the extent of the existing and preserved natural or restored areas.

The plan was developed with the cooperation of many agencies, including the IDNR, Illinois, Nature Preserve, Division of Water Resources, Boone Creek Alliance and the Soil and Water Conservation District. On going, the Boone Creek Alliance along with the Sanctuary of Bull Valley Master Association (MOA) will build a partnership to continue the monitoring, management and maintenance of the restored woodlands and prairies.

The standards incorporated provide for the protection of the ground water and the nearby fen and promotes and restores high quality eco-systems while balancing the needs of the economic benefits to the city. The plan provides a foundation and opportunity for the MOA, working with the agencies and schools to provide the knowledge, analyze, monitor and evaluate the success. 

Because the site is a large bowl, all storm water is directed via grass swales or through buffers of natural plantings. All the kettles are sand and gravel which provides a direct conduit to the aquifer. In some cases those kettles and depressions are 30-40' deep.  By using natural swales and eliminating curb, gutter and storm sewers, the native grasses filter pollutants before they get to high quality kettles or recharge areas. In addition, bio-filter basins help store and filter contaminates.  

All the significant forest areas, kettles and low areas were protected in continuous open space. In addition, non-viable farmland and or pasture was converted to a pre-1850 early prairie which had been identified through early surveys on a small portion of the site.   
Every lot has a significant buffer on its lot known as Deed Restricted Open Space (DROS). All these abut to additional common property which has been restored.


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