Multi-benefit Ecosystem Restoration Underway
Restoration improvements are on schedule at Indian Ridge Marsh – South, located on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Friends and the Chicago-Calumet River Watershed Council are leading this multi-benefit ecosystem restoration project that serves as a model and catalyst for the Watershed Council’s collaborative approach, and is essential to addressing the multi-faceted challenges that communities and the environment face due to the climate crisis.
This fall Friends oversaw the addition of three swamp oak trees, a keystone species, which will support hundreds of wildlife as the trees mature. Fencing was installed to protect native plants from common carp that would otherwise devour them during their seasonal visits. A new boardwalk was also built over an area that often floods, allowing visitors at the site to venture in to the marsh area without experiencing wet feet.
In partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Southeast Youth Alliance, and funded by the Walder Foundation, the project will restore this hemi-marsh wetland habitat and expand the network of publicly accessible natural recreation areas and trails being developed in the Calumet region. A variety of native plant communities will improve habitat for wildlife including mammals, fish, native reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates, insects, and upland birds.
Since 2016, Friends has restored over 615 acres at river-edge forest preserves, significantly improving storm water infiltration and habitat for wildlife, especially for at-risk species.