Springbrook Prairie Restoration Work Earns Award for District
Preserve earns Excellence in Ecological Restoration Award from Chicago Wilderness
(Nov. 18, 2019) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County won the platinum Excellence in Ecological Restoration Award from Chicago Wilderness for its work at the 1,829-acre Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve
Launched in 2012, the Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program recognizes the organizations managing the largest and highest-quality natural areas in the Chicago region and beyond, according to a press release from Chicago Wilderness. "Using a rigorous, standards-based approach, the program highlights projects that set an example of best practices in natural resource management and ecological restoration," the press release states.
Springbrook Prairie is a regionally significant large grassland habitat and birder’s paradise. Once a combination of row crops and sod farm, it is now an Illinois state nature preserve and a land and water reserve. These Illinois Nature Preserves Commission designations provide it with extra protection and limit certain recreational activities.
Springbrook Prairie hosts a regionally significant grassland bird community that is home to state-endangered northern harriers, state-threatened barn owls, short-eared owls, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, bobolinks, black rails, king rails, upland sandpipers, Wilson’s phalaropes, American and least bitterns, black terns, common gallinules, and black-billed cuckoos.
Spring Brook Creek #2, which runs through Springbrook Prairie, is deemed the highest quality stream in DuPage County, so the Forest Preserve District set out to protect it by removing an internal road and moving trails and developed areas to the outside of the preserve. Restoration work along Spring Brook added more natural twists and turns to the waterway and created a wider, shallower bank along the stream. These changes have slowed the flow of water, improved aquatic habitat, and allowed the creek to more easily pour over its banks and into the preserve during heavy rains.
Combined with a small remnant fen, wetlands, grasslands, prairies, and a sinuous creek, Springbrook Prairie represents decades of dedication and perseverance.
Chicago Wilderness’ Excellence in Ecological Restoration accreditation program recognizes large high-quality natural areas and the organizations that manage them. The award showcases the region’s best examples of organizations, individuals, natural areas and places that benefit both wildlife and people. Chicago Wilderness
is a regional alliance leading strategy to preserve, improve and expand nature and quality of life.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60+ forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram pages.
A state-endangered northern harrier at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville.The 1,829-acre Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville is a regionally significant grassland habitat for breeding and overwintering birds and home to dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows and bobolinks as well as state-endangered northern harriers, state-threatened barn owls, short-eared owls, black rails, king rails, upland sandpipers, Wilson’s phalaropes, American and least bitterns, black terns, common gallinules, and black-billed cuckoos. Photo by David Davis