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Illinois Tollway to Restore Orland South Wetlands

Orland Grassland area

New preserve will benefit from I-90 mitigation funds

Orland Grassland South is one of Cook County’s newest forest preserves, a 162-acre former farm that’s bordered by 179th Street on the north, 183rd Street on the south, 104th Avenue on the west and the White Mountain Golf Course and St. Xavier University Orland Park Campus on the east.

Last week, the Illinois Tollway announced a commitment to partner with the Forest Preserves and fund restoration of the wetland site. The restoration will include native planting and seeding, controlling invasive plant species, removing farm drain tiles and restoring a section of a tributary to Marley Creek. The Tollway has also committed to constructing a new entrance road, parking lot, restroom facilities, boardwalks and path system to provide public access to the site.

Once complete, the preserve will connect with the adjacent 960-acre Orland Grassland that serves as an important breeding area for grassland birds such as bobolinks, dickcissels, eastern meadowlarks and Henslow’s sparrows.

The restoration effort will enable the Tollway to meet state and federal requirements to mitigate a portion of the construction impacts associated with the $2.2 billion Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) Rebuilding and Widening Project. Work will begin in fall 2014 and be completed in 2019.