Restorations part of good ecosystem management
As a lifelong resident of DuPage County, I am a dedicated supporter of the DuPage Forest Preserve District's mandate "to acquire and hold lands containing forests, prairies, wetlands … or lands capable of being restored to such natural conditions."
The Forest Preserve District is in the process of seeking public input on the future master planning of Waterfall Glen, Greene Valley and Blackwell preserves. I encourage everyone to visit our website, www.dupageforest.org to find out more about these initiatives.
Specifically, I would like to address the district's recent restoration efforts at Blackwell. I am proud to share the positive results of these efforts, which have created 22 new acres of wetland habitat. With the removal of a manmade dam, fish can again swim naturally upstream. We have reintroduced 220 different native plants. We created healthier ecosystems, where just this year American toads and green frogs were spotted, mallards now raise their ducklings and young smallmouth bass swim through cleaner waters.
Even more encouraging, similar restoration efforts along the same waterway at the adjacent St. James Farm Forest Preserve now attract never-before-seen federally endangered species.
While I understand how these physical changes in the landscape can appear drastic for some, these restoration projects are needed to return manmade environments to their natural state. This is not being done to destroy nature nor to support any "sanitary district operations."
The district will continue to follow science and adhere to best management practices for ecosystems as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the goals outlined by the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.
Yes, change can be difficult, but at Blackwell Forest Preserve, change is creating an inviting habitat where wildlife can thrive and all DuPage residents can reap the benefits.
Daniel Hebreard, President
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County