Somme Prairie Nature Preserve Habitat Restoration

21-acre project to restore native prairie and wetland habitat


The 21-acre project will include brush clearing and tree removal work, restoring native prairie and wetland habitat. Once removal work is finished, the site will be planted with prairie seed collected by volunteer stewards and seed pickers from the site and nearby sites with similar habitat. The project is supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Great Lakes Coastal program, and is slated for completion in fall 2021.


Somme Prairie Nature Preserve underwent tree replanting as part of reforestation efforts in the 40s and 50s; today, oak, walnut and poplar trees dominant the landscape. The main goal of the restoration project is to remove all trees and return the land to a thriving prairie habitat.


The grant-funded restoration work expands upon more than 40 years of dedicated volunteer stewardship; volunteers have increased the prairie’s footprint by cutting brush, removing trees and spreading seed.


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 the Somme Complex as the sixth priority site within the Forest Preserves.


Photo by Lisa Culp Musgrave

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County