Wetlands Restoration Completed at Hadley Valley and Messenger Woods

June 18, 2015

This spring, Openlands finished two long-term wetland restoration projects in Will County. The Army Corps of Engineers issued letters confirming that the restorations at Hadley Valley Preserve and Messenger Woods Nature Preserve were successfully completed. The projects were two of five included in the O'Hare Modernization Mitigation Account (OMMA), which funds restoring wetlands in the Des Plaines River watershed to offset the wetlands impacted by the expansion of Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Hadley Valley Preserve

Openlands has a long history at Hadley Valley:

  • In 1992, Spring Creek, which runs through Hadley Valley, was included in Openlands' original Northeastern Illinois Greenways Plan.
  • In 2006, Openlands assisted the Forest Preserve District of Will County in purchasing almost 15 additional acres for the preserve.
  • Then in 2008, Openlands began working with the District on an extensive project to restore 500 acres of native stream, wetland, and prairie habitats, funded through OMMA.

Messenger Woods

In 2008, Openlands worked with the Forest Preserve District of Will County to create a plan to restore wetland, prairie, and savanna habitats at Messenger Woods. In 2011, the plan won the American Planning Association's National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation.

Messenger Woods is one of the few forests in northeastern Illinois that has never been grazed, cut, farmed, or developed. The OMMA project restored a recently acquired adjacent farm field with several drained wetlands that are once again home to diverse plant and animal species.

In order to help ensure long-term sustainability, Openlands will be involved in ongoing stewardship at the restored sites for the next five years.

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