Wildlife corridor established along Lake Shore Drive

Project Summary: Migratory birds and butterflies have a safe place to stop over, thanks to the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. Invasive species have been removed and volunteers have planted thousands of native trees and shrubs in their place.

Project Name: Burnham Wildlife Corridor

 

Location: Chicago, Ill.

 

Volunteers help plant shrubs and flowers for the butterfly garden in the wildlife corridor to encourage native pollinators to return to the city. Photo courtesy of Dan Thomson and the Chicago Park District.

Volunteers help plant shrubs and flowers for the butterfly garden in the wildlife corridor to encourage native pollinators to return to the city. Photo courtesy of Dan Thomson and the Chicago Park District.

Description: Work started in 1998 along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive to restore native ecosystems for plants and animals. The restored natural space will also help slow down and filter water before it enters Lake Michigan, reducing runoff into the lake. This area along Lake Michigan known as the Burnham Natural Sanctuary had invasive plants and trees growing throughout, crowding out native plants and animals. The invasive species were removed and replaced with native plants, shrubs, and trees to restore a mix of prairie and woodland habitat. The 100-acre wildlife corridor will help attract native butterflies, migrating birds, and other wildlife.

 

Approximate Cost of the Project: More than $1 million, with $370,870 of that coming from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

 

Resource Challenges Addressed: Invasive plants, lack of habitat for native species, lack of options for migrating birds

 

A dragonfly rests on a twig, enjoying the natural space of the Burnham Wildlife Cooridor. Photo courtesy of Dan Thomson and the Chicago Park District.

A dragonfly rests on a twig, enjoying the natural space of the Burnham Wildlife Cooridor. Photo courtesy of Dan Thomson and the Chicago Park District.

Key Partners (Public and Private): Chicago Park District, Pizzo and Associates, Kramer Trees, The Field Museum, Friends of the Parks, The Nature Conservancy, Openlands, Africa International House, Audubon Chicago Region, Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission, Blacks in Green, Bronzeville Historical Society, Center for New Horizons, DuSable Museum of African American History, El Hogar del Nino, Gads Hill Center, Illinois Institute of Technology, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Casa Michoacan, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, Quad Communities Development Corporation, The Resurrection Project, Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab, and Urban Juncture.

 

Types of Jobs Created: outreach and event planners to organize volunteers, general laborers, landscape architects, heavy equipment operators

 

Results and Accomplishments: More than 250 invasive trees and shrubs were removed from the Burnham Wildlife Corridor including Siberian elm, black locust, and tree of heaven. To create a woodland habitat with oak and maple approximately 80,000 trees were planted. Hundreds of volunteers gathered to plant these trees and help expand the butterfly meadow. Plants that have now returned thanks to the removal of invasive species include milkweed, heath aster, purple prairie clover, black-eyed Susan, spiderwort, and prairie dock.

 

Originally published on: September 15, 2015

Comments are closed.