The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided final compliance sign-off on the Illinois Tollway’s wetland mitigation work at the 315-acre Pine Dunes Forest Preserve located near Wadsworth in northern Lake County.
The Tollway successfully restored 80 acres of wetlands and 235 acres of adjacent savanna and prairie habitat and completed a five-year monitoring requirement in collaboration with the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
The Pine Dunes Forest Preserve features numerous streams, marshes, sedge meadows, ponds and other wetlands, as well as a mix of prairie, savanna and oak-hickory woodlands. These habitats have been identified by the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Chicago Wilderness and the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation as critical nesting and foraging areas for a variety of birds and other wildlife species.
The Tollway’s work involved wetland creation, wetland enhancement, stream restoration, woodland restoration and improvement and conversion of upland farmland into mesic-prairie and oak savanna areas. Wetlands restoration and woodland enhancements included removal of man-made drainage features to reestablish natural water flow, removal of non-native species, control of invasive plants and the planting and seeding of diverse native prairie species. In addition, approximately 4,800 native trees and shrubs were planted in the upland areas.
The Tollway also constructed site improvements, including new trails to better connect the Des Plaines River Trail, a parking lot, restroom facilities, boardwalks, a drinking water well and a new entrance road, as well as nearly three miles of bike and pedestrian paths.
The wetland restoration and wetland enhancement were completed by the Tollway to mitigate the construction impacts associated with construction of the Illinois Route 390 Tollway and the new I-490 Tollway.
Learn more about the Tollway's mitigation efforts here.
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