DeKALB – The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District and the DeKalb Park District were recently awarded a $4,200 ComEd/Openlands Green Region grant for a collaborative habitat restoration project.
ComEd and its partner, Openlands, initiated the Green Region Program to encourage local governments to engage in measures that protect, improve and support open spaces within communities.
The Kishwaukee WRD and Park District 2020 Native Habitats project goal is to restore 22 acres of turfgrass and naturalized landscapes to native pollinator habitat, according to a news release. Sections of Hopkins Park, Rotary Park and the KWRD water reclamation facility will be converted to native habitat to provide environments for important pollinators such as butterflies and bees and to reduce landscape maintenance costs. The project also seeks to provide public educational opportunities on the importance of pollinator conservation and stormwater management.
Once established, the native habitats will be accessible to the public. KWRD and the park district asked that residents be patient, as habitat restoration is a time-consuming process that requires up to two years of management and maintenance before it becomes established.
Restoration efforts in the project sites have already begun. Herbicide treatments for invasive species removal are planned for late summer. Once sites have been prepared, native seed mixes will be installed in November. The project timeline estimates that the native habitats will be significantly established within three years of seed installation. More information about the project can be found on the park district’s website at https://www.dekalbparkdistrict.com/pollinator-prairie-restoration.