The Land Conservancy of McHenry County preserves 83 acres of wetland, sedge meadow and wet prairie in Woodstock

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County has preserved an 83-acre property, Slough Creek Wetland Bank, located northwest of Woodstock on Jankowski Road.

The parcel lies within the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and is adjacent to McHenry County Conservation District property along Slough Creek, the Nippersink Creek corridor, and one-half mile from the Bystricky Prairie Illinois State Nature Preserve.

The property adds 83 acres for a total of 1,500 contiguous acres of wildlife habitat.

Once a farm field, the property was restored to a wetland and wet prairie habitat for the purpose of selling wetland mitigation credits to mitigate development wetland impacts.

The wetland/wet-mesic prairie restoration has met all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approvals for wetland restoration.

In addition to the restored vegetation, the site serves as feeding/nesting/migration habitat for a number of declining, rare, or threatened/endangered Illinois bird species such as: Northern Harrier, sedge wren, marsh wren, bobolink, and sparrows (field, grasshopper, Henslow's, Savannah, Song, Swamp, and Vesper).

The owners decided to work with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County as the organization to complete the donation process due to the organization's long record of integrity and reputation for natural land management.

As part of the land donation, the donors are contributing to a long-term management fund held for the property and also covering the cost of one year of site management, which includes prescribed burns and eradicating invasive species at the site.

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County plans to hold the property for two to three years and collect native seed there for use at other sites.

Eventually, the property will be transferred to either the McHenry County Conservation District or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for formal addition to the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County is a member-based private nonprofit dedicated to preserving natural, scenic and agricultural land.

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