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FALL Into Restoration: Take advantage of dormant season opportunities.

Too often resource managers consider putting outdoor projects on hold until the spring. This creates a missed window of opportunity. Take advantage of the dormant season and optimize your programs by planting, controlling invasive plants and creating or reviewing management plans. Read more >


CLS Work Featured on Bionic Planet Podcast

CLS Associate Consultant Joe Krischon and Project Developer Dave Neu were recently interviewed by journalist Steve Zwick for his podcast Bionic Planet. They discussed the challenges and unexpected joys of restoring Lake Michigan bluffs and ravines, the benefits of using native plants, and the plight of native insects in the “Bees, Trees and Burning Bluffs” episode. Read more >


Federal Botany Bill Reintroduced

A bill was reintroduced to the US House of Representatives in March that could have positive impacts on native plantings and natural area management. The Botany Bill (H.R. 1572) was first introduced in 2017, and was reintroduced on March 6, 2019. There are currently 29 bipartisan co-sponsors of the bill, which focuses on training, research, and the propagation and use of native plants. If it becomes law, the bill will employ and train botanists who work on federal lands, fund research on recovery of threatened, endangered, and invasive species, and make recommendations for the use of native plants in land management activities. Read more >


Spring Ephemerals—What Are They?

You may have heard the term “spring ephemeral” used to describe woodland plants, but what are they, really? Ephemeral means fleeting, temporary, and short-lived, but this isn’t exactly descriptive of the group of plants we call spring ephemerals. Most flowering woodland herbaceous plants come up early in spring and bloom before the canopy of trees develop leaves. They take advantage of the period of time when sunlight reaches the ground in the woodlands. These early bloomers provide essential nectar and pollen for bumblebees, mining bees (andrena bees), and multiple flies and gnats at a time when most other flowering plants are not yet available. Read more >


Winter is Prime Time for Invasive Woody Plant Control

Whether you are interested in restoring a native plant community, looking to meet regulatory requirements for wetland permitting, or simply want to keep the brush on your property under control, fall and winter are great times to plan your offense against invasives. By assessing your site requirements, types of species, and budget, we can help you create the right invasive plant control plan for your property. Depending on species, property type, budget, and other considerations, there are many ways to keep woody invasive plants in check. Read more >


Winterberry: Our Native Holly

You're most likely familiar with the shiny, tooth-leaved, evergreen holly that adorns wrapping paper and garnishes holiday decorations, but you may not be aware of the holly that is native to eastern North America. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous shrub that grows along ponds, streams, and damp thickets. They can also be successfully grown in yards in full sun or partial shade. Read more >


Hold the Salt!

Nationwide, more than 22 million tons of salt are applied to roads annually. That number doesn't even account for business parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways. Salt that is introduced to the environment breaks down into sodium and chloride ions that travel with water into the soil, onto plants, and into ground and surface waters. One teaspoon of road salt contaminates 5 gallons of water — forever. Read more >


Winter is a Good Time to Plan

Thinking of making some changes to your yard or commercial property next year? Now is the time to start planning for it! CLS can suggest some popular sustainable upgrades from expensive turfgrass and exotic shrubs. Read more >


New CLS Project: Culver Park Detention Basin Retrofit

The CLS team is excited to announce they have been awarded the contract for Culver Park’s detention basin retrofit in Homer Township, Will County, IL. The project aims to transform the existing turf shoreline of the detention basin to a native landscape complete with a walking trail and stone outcropping fishing platforms for the benefit of community members. To re-establish the landscaping, CLS will install native plugs, seed, and toe slope protection to stabilize the bank of the basin. The project scope also includes the creation and installation of educational signage for community awareness. Work on the project began on 8/28/18 and is set to complete in November of 2021.


Corporate Campuses Save Money with Natural Landscaping

According to a study, corporate landowners can save approximately 40% in management costs by maintaining their properties as natural areas. In addition to cost savings, native landscapes provide a number of environmental benefits. 
Read more >


CLS has been awarded a contract for Natural Area Stewardship

CLS has been awarded a contract for Natural Area Stewardship at the Dorothy and Sam Dean Nature Sanctuary in Oak Brook.

The Dean Nature Sanctuary, a facility of the Oak Brook Park District, is a 40-acre park with recreational amenities including an ADA fishing pier on the pond, canoe launch on the Salt Creek, crushed limestone ADA pathways, mowed pathways, six interpretive gardens, and two shelters: the main gazebo and a nature viewing station. Native prairie, wetlands, and oak savanna were all restored in 2007 – 2009 with an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The property is the former home of Oak Brook Village founding family Dorothy and Sam Dean, who were very active in the social and political life of the community. Dorothy was particularly passionate about the environment and loved the natural areas and wildlife around her home. Amidst pressure from the Village’s development boom, Mrs. Dean took steps to maintain the property as an undeveloped nature preserve, and it was formally transferred to the Oak Brook Park District in 2005.


CLS Sponsors Lake Forest Open Lands Association Summer Internship Program

CLS is a proud sponsor of the Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA) summer internship program. For the past twenty years, this summer internship program has hired undergraduate students, graduate students, or recent college grads to fill paid intern positions during a 9-week summer program. The LFOLA program provides interns with a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between academics and real-world conservation work that contributes to the health and sustainability of our landscapes. CLS’s sponsorship will contribute to intern salaries and uniform costs, but more importantly it supports the next generation of conservation leaders who will go on to find jobs in the horticultural industry. CLS is proud to support the LFOLA summer internship program providing invaluable experience for the next crop of environmental stewards!


CLS Awarded Two New Contracts in Will County

CLS has been awarded the contract for two Forest Preserve District of Will County nature preserves: Goodenow Grove in Beecher, IL and Raccoon Grove in Monee Township, IL. The scope of the year-long project includes woody and grass invasive species control, with specific focus on under story species and streambank invasive grasses in designated areas in both nature preserves. The methods that will be used include foliar treatment, basal barking, hand wicking, ATV spraying, girdling, and cut/stump treatment. With a total of 187.7 acres to be treated between both Goodenow Grove and Racoon Grove, this invasive species control project is a crucial step in maintaining savannas and promoting native growth and sustainability.


We're Hiring

Do you love working outside and care about protecting the environment? CLS is currently seeking individuals with entry-level experience to join our team beginning in early spring 2018. Our crews are based in Elmhurst, IL and Long Grove, IL and work in the surrounding communities. Spend your days in nature, removing or treating invasive plants, clearing trees, and installing seed and native plants. We offer excellent opportunity for advancement with a great company! For more information, visit our Careers page.


Shoreline Stabilization Project

Shoreacres Golf Club in Lake Bluff, IL is a nationally-ranked private course that was established over one hundred years ago. Shoreacres’ defining characteristics are the ravines which are woven into the landscape and the stately clubhouse overlooking Lake Michigan. Read more…


CLS & DRG Team to Complete Environmental Goals of Dunes Kankakee Trail    

Since 2015, CLS has worked on the restoration of wetlands and forested uplands for the Dunes Kankakee Trail enhancement project in Porter, IN. The paved 3-mile walking and bike trail, run by the National Park Service, spans the entire length of Porter County and connects the Indiana Dunes State Park to the Indiana National Lakeshore. After construction was completed in 2016, the town of Porter elected to continue to work with CLS to provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to wetlands near the trail. Over the next 5 years, CLS will be on-site to perform invasive species management, monitoring, and report writing to satisfy the mitigation performance standards set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). CLS is excited to be teaming up with the Indianapolis office of the Davey Resource Group (DRG) to complete the project. 

Photo courtesy of IndianaDunes.com


Connect with CLS at the 2017 Openlands Luncheon

CLS is excited to be among the 900+ green industry leaders attending the Openlands Annual Luncheon again this year. For more than 50 years, the Openlands Luncheon has been the largest gathering of conservation-focused professionals in Illinois.

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the USA and the only such group focused on the greater Chicago region. Our goals at CLS align with many of those in the Openlands mission statement: “...ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.”

This annual luncheon is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations while supporting a worthy cause.

For more information about the event, visit the 2017 Openlands Annual Luncheon page.


CLS Employees Earn New Certifications

 CLS is proud to announce that three employees have recently earned industry-recognized certifications that will advance their professional expertise as well as expand the services that we can offer our clients.

Colin Nemec, employed since March 2015, and Taylor Brown, employed since August 2013, received Certified Burn Manager accreditations. In Illinois, Certified Burn Managers are key to prescribed burn projects - qualified to approve and write burn prescriptions and also supervise controlled burns on site.

Josh Lindemann, employed since February 2016, has earned his ISA Certified Arborist accreditation. Passing the ISA course proves an individual’s thorough knowledge of and dedication to correct arboriculture practices.

Our hats off to Colin, Taylor, and Josh for their commitment to increasing their professional skills!


CLS Awarded Wetland Enhancement Contract by Marquette’s Crossing HOA 

CLS has been awarded the contract to perform wetland enhancement at Marquette’s Crossing East in Romeoville, IL. A single-family home subdivision completed in the early 2000s, Marquette’s Crossing East features a wetland area maintained by the homeowners association. The project scope includes tree clearing, improvements to surrounding landscaping, and overseeding and cultivation of native species in natural areas. CLS will also install a limestone path around the wetland and improve bench areas so that Marquette’s Crossing residents can enjoy nature in their neighborhood.

CLS has successfully worked with many HOAs to achieve the ecological and environmental stewardship goals of shared spaces, and is excited to begin this new relationship with Marquette’s Crossing HOA.


Welcome, Joe Krischon

CLS would like to extend a warm welcome to new team member Joe Krischon. With experience in ecosystem restoration and a passion for native plant communities, Mr. Krischon joins CLS as an associate consultant and ecologist. His expertise includes invasive species control, habitat restoration, native plant installation, and prescribed burning.    

Read Joe's bio page > 


CLS Awarded Storm Damage Restoration at Shoreacres GC

Conservation Land Stewardship (CLS) was recently awarded a contract by Shoreacres Golf Club located in Lake Bluff, IL. Designed by renowned golf architect Seth Raynor in 1919, Shoreacres’ defining characteristics are the ravines which are woven into the landscape.

These ravines are so prevalent that the club scorecard features a special “Ravine Rule” that provides modest penalty strokes if your ball ends up in one. 

CLS is set to perform restorations on several ravine slopes severely damaged during a massive storm this July. After approximately 10 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours, the ravines showed significant erosion. CLS will provide excavation of damaged areas and rebuild the slopes with compacted soils. CLS will also improve future drainage by installing various geotextile materials.


Love bird watching? 

We wanted to share some tips from the National Audubon Society on the #1 way to attract them to your home.



CLS Awarded Two New Restoration Contracts by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources    

Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC (CLS) has been awarded two restoration and stewardship services contracts by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Division of Nature Preserves. CLS will restore 41 acres of habitat within the Norco Savanna Unit, Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve in Lake County, Indiana. CLS will also restore 106 acres of habitat within the Stoutsburg Savanna Nature Preserve in Jasper County, Indiana. 

Both projects span from December 2016 to March 2017. Each project will begin with CLS removing invasive species through mechanical and hand-clearing methods, followed by herbicide applications as needed.

Restoration of these nature preserves is a significant step in improving overall biodiversity and wildlife habitat.


CLS Awarded Turtle Habitat Improvement by Friends of the Chicago River

Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC (CLS) was recently awarded two contracts by Friends of the Chicago River to improve turtle habitats within the Forest Preserve District of Cook County . The goal is to improve and expand nesting habitats for native turtles that use the Chicago River riparian corridor for reproduction. Turtle species include painted (Chrysemys picta), snapping (Chelydra serpentina), spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera), map (Graptemys geographica) and musk/stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus).

Work includes removing and controlling non-native, invasive species within the floodplain.

Click on the link below to learn more about habitat restoration efforts to support reproductive vitality among wildlife in Cook County.

Learn more >


CLS Restores a Dune and Swale Habitat on ArcelorMittal Global R&D Center in East Chicago

In the fall of 2016, Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC (CLS) was contracted by ArcelorMittal, a Luxembourg-based steel manufacturing company, to perform a prescribed burn on its 10-acre Global Research and Development Center in East Chicago, Indiana. Since 2013, ArcelorMittal has partnered with The Field Museum and The Nature Conservancy to help restore this rare dune and swale habitat along Lake Michigan. Over fifty species of plants, including endangered species, continue to be monitored by ArcelorMittal partners.

ArcelorMittal is dedicated to restoring and preserving this unique ecological habitat. The firm is also committed to connecting urban youth with nature through experiential education. ArcelorMittal helps fund the Mighty Acorns' program, which provides opportunities for students to engage with the outdoors and participate in hands-on restoration and invasive species control activities. The program was launched in Northwest Indiana through a partnership between Dunes Learning Center, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, and The Field Museum.

For additional details about the project, check out this ArcelorMittal news story from November, 2016.


Highland Park's Rosewood Beach Among Top Restored Beaches

CLS was an integral part of the beach restoration for Rosewood Park, Highland Park Park District, Highland Park, Illinois. As a subcontractor to John Keno & Company, CLS provided ravine, bluff, and shoreline restoration  including invasive removal, slope stabilization, and native plantings.

Read more >