Woodridge Park District

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Natural Resource Management

The Woodridge Park District is dedicated to preserving native plant communities, wildlife diversity, and water quality throughout the District. A Natural Resource Management Plan was created to serve as a tool to educate residents about the District’s natural resource management techniques. A list of natural area sites and habitat types, as well as descriptions of those areas can be found in the plan.

Natural Resource Management Plan Overview
The Woodridge Park District owns and manages 150 parcels totaling 682 acres which consist of 40 sites, 26 prairies, 20 ponds, 30 woodlands, 16 streams, and approximately 28 wetlands. These sites contain a variety of native plants, wildlife and water features. The District’s Natural Resource Management Department is dedicated to preserving and managing these natural areas.

View full Natural Resources Management Plan

Prescribed Burns to Begin October 22 and Continue Through Spring 2019

The Woodridge Park District will be conducting prescribed burns in numerous parks and properties beginning this fall. The burns will take place between October 22 and April 30, when weather conditions are suitable. 

Prescribed burns are part of a natural areas management process and will be conducted by trained Park District staff or a contractor. All burns are supervised by an Illinois Certified Prescribed Burn Manager. Prescribed burns are a management technique used for improving site conditions for high quality native plants while reducing invasive weeds.

During the prescribed burn, smoke conditions will occur, but shall be kept to a minimum.  Should any of your family members have health situations that may be affected or irritated by these conditions, please contact us so that we may properly plan to avoid any problems.

Prescribed burns are planned for the following parks:

-Boundary Hill Woods
-Castaldo Park
-Cypress Cove
-Duke Street Basin
-Echo Point Park
-Hawthorne Hill Woods
-Ide's Grove East Park
-Ide's Grove West Park
-Mending Wall Park
-Pond #54
-Rutgers/Peters Basin
-Vicente Outlot C
-Village Greens Golf Course
-Water Tower Reserve Outlot A
-Water Tower Reserve Outlot B
-Water Tower Reserve Outlot C
-Wendy’s Pond
-Westminster Park
-Windy Point Park

Lake Harriet Invasive Plant Removeal & Algae

What is the landscape work being done around Lake Harriet?

The Woodridge Park District’s Natural Resource Crew is removing non-native and invasive trees and shrubs around Lake Harriet.  These aggressive species include buckthorn, honeysuckle, mulberry and black alders.  These species have crowded out the native prairie grasses and flowers that protect the shoreline from erosion.  This work is part of a District-wide effort to remove invasive brush from park sites and improve the quality of our natural areas.  Once the woody species have been removed the native grasses and flowers will be better able to establish in these areas.  The work will continue through the month of August and will include removal of invasive species on the island as well.

While the work around the lake has caused some damage to the native plants structures above ground around the shoreline, they have not been removed and their root structures are intact.  The native species are perennials, which come back every year.  Nothing new will be planted as the perennial grasses and flowers will come back next spring, and should better than before now that they have more sunlight and less competition with invasive plants. 

Why is there so much algae at Lake Harriet?

There are several reasons for the abundance of algae in Lake Harriet including high nutrient levels, low oxygen and  lack of flow.  A pond study was done last year by an independent pond consultant, ILM, who recommended a below water aeration system to improve the low oxygen levels at Lake Harriet. This spring, the District had aerators installed to help increase oxygen levels, but it will take time for it to improve.  ILM came out to do another inspection of the water last week to determine the aerators effect on the water conditions.

Overall, our discussion with ILM indicated that while aeration singularly is not a cure-all, it does benefit the ponds ecosystem, and it's likely the algae this season would be far worse without it.  Aeration increases the dissolved oxygen in the pond, which in-turn helps to keep the nutrients sequestered in the sediment, and theoretically unavailable for algae growth. The Park District's action plan of doing these studies and installing an aeration system will help the pond in time. We anticipate improvements in the water dissolved oxygen with these new aerators, but the ecosystem still needs time to catch up with a shift in the environment caused by aeration. ILM also mentioned that 2018 was a VERY unusual year (snow in April, record rains in May), and that many ponds that didn’t formerly exhibit nuisance algae growth, are this year.

As part of the maintenance of this pond, an aquatic weed and algae treatment was also conducted early this week.  Many of the algae areas treated are browning up resulting in more open water.  Another treatment is scheduled for two weeks which further reduce the algae in the lake.  A large rain event would also improve the frequency of algae providing a natural flushing of the ecosystem.

Read the Intergovernmental Agreement for Maintenance of Stormwater Management Facilities and Open Space Sites

Lake Harriet & Ide’s Grove East Park Pond Evalution

View Living with Wetlands: A Handbook for Homeowners in Northeastern Illinois

Living with Coyotes

Coyotes are occasionally spotted in the winter including parks and schools. They tend to shy away from human beings, but have been known to attack unattended small pets. The park district would like to remind residents of these tips provided by the Forest Preserve of DuPage County:

Keep pet food and watering dishes inside, especially at night.

Do not allow spillage to accumulate around bird feeders.

Keep grills and barbecues clean: even small food scraps may attract animals.

Keep garbage cans indoors.

Keep dogs and cats leashed and stay with our pets outside, especially during the evening and early morning when coyotes are most active.

If you feel a coyote is dangerous, please call the Village of Woodridge Police Department at 911. To learn more about living in harmony with DuPage County's native wildlife, visit the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's website.