The Restoration of King Rail Habitat project at Crabtree Nature Center (CTNC) is supported in part by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program.
This project seeks to increase breeding habitat for the king rail (Rallus elegans) by restoring 35 acres. In the last 40 years, the king rail has declined significantly in its range due to the loss of wetlands, encroaching invasive species, and altered hydrology. It is now an Illinois endangered species. The king rail, a secretive marsh bird, depends on extensive sedge and cattail marshes in order to thrive. CTNC was often used by king rails in the past, but much of the habitat has become overgrown and is too dense for the birds to use. This grant will allow the Forest Preserves to conduct restoration activities so that the king rail can once again call CTNC home.
This work will also benefit other wetland birds that frequent CTNC such as egrets, sandhill cranes, and great blue herons. Amphibians such as turtles will also benefit from the decrease in brush that currently hinders their movement through the area.
In total the project will encompass about 80 acres and is planned to be completed by the fall of 2017. If you would like more information please contact Resource Management staff at 708-771-1180.