Fri September 7, 2018
Many residents may have noticed the changing colors in the leaves in the vegetation along the DeKalb Nature Trail between Sycamore Road and First Street. This is not an early sign of fall, but is in fact, dying vegetation. This is the first step in the restoration work that is underway along the trail.
In November 2017, the DeKalb Park District approved a plan for restoration work to be done on the DeKalb Nature Trail. The plan calls for the removal of undesirable and invasive species, as well as introduction of high-quality native species that will improve the overall quality and ecological function of the plant communities. It will provide habitat for birds and butterflies in the heart of our community.
The project was bid out and the restoration work was awarded to Encap, Inc. of DeKalb. This first phase will only encompass the northeast side of the trail (the side that has the power lines). No work will be done on the southwest side of the trail until future phases. Additionally, during the first phase of the project, no work will be done in the wooded area west of the river.
The plan calls for existing open area vegetation to receive herbicide application treatment to non-native, undesirable, and invasive species. These areas will receive supplementary seeding and small tree and shrub plantings will be installed to coordinate with existing shrub plantings. The seed mix will include a diverse mix of native grasses and flowers with various colors and blooming times throughout the year. In the area along the shoreline the seed mix will be a mix that will be dominated by native grasses that will assist with soil stabilization in erosion-prone areas.
In mid-August, prior to Encap beginning their work on the trail, a contractor hired by ComEd applied an initial herbicide application as a part of their annual maintenance of vegetation under the power lines. As a result of this work, several of the shrubs that were called out in the approved plan to be saved were inadvertently killed. ComEd has confirmed that they will replace these plants with the same species of the same size at no cost to the District.
Board President, Phil Young has stated “While we are very disappointed that some of these shrubs were destroyed, and we don’t like the way the plants along the trail look right now, we will make sure that these shrubs are replaced, and we are excited for the future plants and all of the restoration work that will enhance this trail in the coming years.”
In the coming weeks, Encap will apply a follow-up herbicide application along the trail and later this month or early in October they will begin mowing to remove the vegetation. This will clear the site to allow for the seeding of the site. The planting of the replacement shrubs is scheduled to take place next spring.
Contact: Amy Doll