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Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

Highland Park, Illinois

In late 2006, Conservation Land Stewardship, Inc. (CLS) initiated restoration of one of the few remaining bluff and ravine ecosystems in the Chicago Region. In partnership with Conservation Design Forum, Inc. and Graef, Inc., CLS was retained by Openlands to implement the Fort Sheridan Lakeshore Preserve Action Plan. The preserve, which is home to six state listed threatened and endangered species, has sustained significant impact from concentrated stormwater discharges, upland development, and invasive species proliferation. Project goals include initial slope stabilization within the bluff and ravine habitats, removal of invasive species, establishment of native vegetation, and protection of threatened natural resources. To date, more than 70 acres of this unique habitat has been restored and restoration efforts are ongoing. Initial restoration activities have included:

  • Selective removal of invasive woody species and canopy thinning
  • Native seeding and enhancement planting
  • Erosion and sediment control, including steep slope hydromulch
  • Slope stabilization and revetment, installation of gabion baskets
  • Site stewardship, monitoring, and invasive species control
  • Prescribed burn planning, permitting, and management
  • Installation of wildlife habitat structures
  • Public education and volunteer coordination