Replacing invasive plants with wildlife-friendly native ones in and near the city's slough and restoring prairie along a bike path are major projects of the Prospect Heights Natural Resource Commission, the city council heard Monday.
The organization is just a few months old, but ComEd, the city and the Prospect Heights Park District have contributed $20,000 to these programs.
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Aldermen also reacted favorably when representatives of the commission requested the city share its data with Chicago Wilderness, which is trying to map infrastructure in the Des Plaines River watershed.
The slough along Old Willow Road east of Elmhurst Road is about 40 acres and maps from 1846 when settlers first arrived show it existed then, said Dr. Agnes Wojnarksi, chairman of the commission.
"Wildlife has used that slough for thousands of years," she said. "During migration seasons you see thousands of ducks and geese and herons. That is right here in the heart of Prospect Heights, and we need to protect it."
The bike path runs along ComEd right of way from Lake Arlington in Arlington Heights to the Prospect Heights Metra station, 55 S. Wolf Road.
Volunteers remove reed canary grassy and buckthorn from the slough every other Sunday, said Ed Madden, a member of the commission. Anyone interested in helping can visit the Facebook page of the Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission or email Agneswojnarski@yahoo.com.
Invasive plants crowd out others that the wildlife rely on, Madden said. And the commission is studying recent build ups of silt in the slough.
The commission also plans educational programs at the Prospect Heights Library and hopes to advise public bodies when they choose plants for projects.