Chicago Department of Aviation Tours Deer Grove East

July 16, 2013

On July 11, Openlands staff led a tour of the organization's ongoing restoration project at Deer Grove East, a Cook County Forest Preserve located in Palatine, Illinois. The tour of 25 people included Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Arnold Randall, and Amy Hanson, a representative of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The restoration is funded by the O'Hare Modernization Mitigation Account (OMMA), which seeks to offset a portion of the impact on aquatic resources caused by the expansion of O'Hare International Airport. Deer Grove East was selected in 2006 as one of five projects funded by OMMA.

Throughout the project, Openlands has worked closely with ecologists from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other partner agencies. The results have been dramatic, and now six years later, native plant and wildlife species are returning to the 181 acres of wetland, prairie, and oak savanna at Deer Grove East.

Highlights of the Project

  • Construction to restore hydrology at the site began in Fall 2009. Today, there are 34 acres of restored wetlands, significantly greater than the expected 25.5 acres.
  • Beginning in Spring 2010, rare plants that were once absent from the site were observed growing in abundance.
  • In Spring 2011, Red-Headed Woodpecker breeding pairs returned to the site.
  • This spring, a pair of Sandhill Cranes, which began regularly using the site in 2012, produced a colt.
  • The Friends of Deer Grove East volunteer group was created in 2011 to help preserve, protect, and restore ecological health at the site.

To find out how to get involved in volunteer opportunites, please contact Friends of Deer Grove East. If you like what you see when you visit the restoration, please let the Forest Preserve District of Cook County know. They would love to hear from you.


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