The five-year project will include brush clearing and tree removal work, which will increase light levels on the ground in order to facilitate restoration of the specific areas within the project zone, and allow for improved oak regeneration and growth of other native plant species. Additionally, the restoration work will include removal of invasive and aggressive native species of plants.
Spring 2016: Brush removal and tree thinning was performed over roughly 123 acres of the 239 acre project during winter 2015-16. The rest of the project area is slated for similar work next winter (2016-17). Multiple passes will be made for invasive species control throughout the spring, summer, and fall 2016. Planning for hydrology repairs throughout the preserve is underway and installation is tentatively slated for late summer and early fall.
Deer Grove East recently underwent an O’Hare Modernization Mitigation Account (OMMA) restoration project of its wetlands and prairie, restoring 180 acres during a project that began in 2008. Restoration work at Deer Grove West was part of the initial project submittal for OMMA funds; however, restoration work has primarily been focused at Deer Grove East. Planning for the specific Deer Grove West restoration project began in 2014 in consultation with Stantec. Other partners and supporters include Openlands, the Army Corps of Engineers, Deer Grove Natural Area Volunteers, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
During some of the project, the trails at Deer Grove West will be heavily used by contractors. Temporary closures will be necessary at times. Camp Alphonse will also be closed during winter 2016-2017.
This restoration project aligns with the Next Century Conservation Plan’s goal of restoring 30,000 acres of forest preserve to good ecological health, and the prioritization scheme of the Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan, which names Deer Grove as the #4 priority site within the Forest Preserves.