Herrick Lake - Prairie & Savanna Restoration
The 887-acre Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton is home to an impressive variety of wildlife and is one of the Forest Preserve District’s most popular preserves. This project involves crews removing aggressive plant species from 550 acres of the preserve, which threaten the 545 native plant and 238 wildlife species that live there, some state-endangered, threatened, or rare. The aggressive plant species keep sun and water from reaching the grasses, wildflowers, and oak and hickory seedlings that grow here. As a result, the variety of plants and animals is declining.
The work will require closing a section of the Green Heron Trail and the spur leading to Herrick Road from approximately Nov. 1, 2022 until mid-March 2023. Signs will be posted at the preserve notifying visitors of the closures.
Other temporary trail closures may be needed as the project progresses. The regional trail connecting Herrick Lake to Danada will remain open throughout the project.
Crews will cut and remove invasive trees and shrubs and carefully apply herbicides to the cut stumps so these aggressive plants can’t grow back. They may also create and burn brush piles on the site. The wetland and prairie areas will also be mowed to control nonnative, shallow-rooted plant species. Native plants with deep roots will not be phased by mowing and will grow stronger with less competition. Crews will also conduct beneficial prescription burns to assist in the recovery.
The work is a board-certified master plan project, furthering the Forest Preserve District’s mission to preserve the flora, fauna and scenic beauty of DuPage natural areas.
Work will resume in November 2022 and take place primarily in December, January and February. It will take a few winters to complete. Crews may also do follow-up hand and mechanical work in the spring and summer from time to time.
The $2,300,000 project will be funded through the Forest Preserve District’s yearly appropriated construction and development funds.