Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible to apply for these funds?

Residential property owners in the Village of Mettawa with lots one-half acre or larger.

2. Are there any deadlines?

Openlands must receive proof of payment for approved projects by October 31, 2022. Applications are processed on a first come first served basis until funds are depleted. Since winter is the only season when many of these projects can take place, and only two winters are available, we encourage people to apply early.

3. Which shrubs and trees are eligible for removal?

All sizes of buckthorn, honeysuckle, burning bush, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, privet, and other invasive shrub species are eligible. Thick growths of maple and ash saplings less than 10 feet tall are eligible. Dead trees and shrubs, large trees, and pruning are NOT eligible.

4. How will shrubs and trees be removed?

Methods vary due to several factors, including your preferences and the contractor you choose.  Key considerations include the density and size of shrubs or trees to be removed, the presence of wet soils or valuable features to be protected (such as a rare species, favorite tree, or gazebo), the season in which work takes place, the size of the project area, and the type of equipment used.

Methods include, but are not limited to, basal bark treatment, foliar spraying, and cutting with a chainsaw, forestry mower, or hand tools. To reduce re-sprouting, cut stumps must be properly treated with herbicide by licensed operators adhering to  contractor specifications. Cut material can be stacked in brush piles (that may or may not be burned), or chipped (with chips hauled away or used on site for footpaths or mulch), or stacked into fences.

All of the above factors impact project cost.  

5. How were these contractors selected?

These contractors have long, successful track records of working locally on woodland restoration projects. Though each offers unique qualifications, all three feature staff who are knowledgeable in identification of both rare and invasive species, and all three use operators who are licensed by the State of Illinois for herbicide use.

6. Is other financial assistance available?

Additional support through reduced taxes may be available to those who own five or more undeveloped acres and enroll in the Illinois Conservation Stewardship Program.

7. What are invasive species?

Most invasive species are not native to a region and, once introduced, overrun a landscape or replace a significant number of native species in ways that eliminate the food sources wildlife depend on, make an area unusable by people, and/or cause long-lasting damage to soil and water. In a few instances, native species have become invasive due to major changes in a landscape such as the absence of fire or an unusual abundance of nutrients in water. 

8. Why use herbicide?

Herbicides have become an unexpected ally for native plants and wildlife in the effort to control invasive species because, when used properly, herbicides kill invasive shrubs and trees and reduce re-sprouting without harming people, wildlife or non-target plants. It is critical that the correct herbicide be used for the site and target species. Herbicides must also be used at the correct point in a project, in the correct amount and formulation, and under correct weather conditions. It must be properly mixed, stored and applied. For this project, only State-licensed operators may apply herbicides.

9. Why is winter the preferred season for this work?

In winter, most birds have migrated south, and plants, frogs, turtles, salamanders and other amphibians and reptiles are dormant. Virtually no wildlife species are raising young. Soils are frozen and thus protected from compaction, especially if the area is generally wet. Depending on the site, winter may be the only time of year when a work crew can access it with equipment.

10. How does this project fit into the region’s larger efforts?

Learn more about this area’s woodlands and ways people are working together to protect them through the Lake County Forest Preserve District’s Woodland Habitat Restoration Project and the Chicago Region Tree Initiative’s Oak Ecosystem Recovery Project.