Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Report January 2021

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Below is a list of items discussed at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County meeting in January of 2021 compiled by Connie Schmidt.

Jeff Gahris – Newly elected Commissioner and well-known environmental protector, Jeff Gahris is appointed as the liaison from the board to the “Friends of the Forest Preserve” Board.

Mayslake Forest Preserve – The west parking lot has been under construction since Sept 2020 but has had complications due to weather and unknown underground abandoned infrastructure from private utilities placed by previous owners of the property. The parking lot is ready for asphalt but the weather needs to be appropriate for at least a week in order to do this work. In this project, contaminated soils were removed and drainage from the building area is routed to preserve the courtyards. Final completion date is expected April 30 in order to allow for the Native Plant Sale in early May.

St. James Farm – The picnic pavilion is undergoing improvement at St. James Farm. The work is being done by an ADA grant and funds provided by the McCormick Foundation. The work will improve accessibility for all individuals. It was learned that the foundation for the columns that support the roof, was not done per code. Improved standards are required for the 42 well-rotted columns supporting the structure. The construction team is asking for additional time, as well as increased cost for the columns supporting the structure. This is the most reserved pavilion in the multiple preserves maintained by the Forest Preserve District.

Master Planning in Various Preserves – Master Plans for Blackwell, Green Valley and Waterfall Glen have not been revisited in many cases for 30 years. These are the most used preserves in the County. Staff is bringing on a consultant to assist with the analysis for these preserves. Stantec Consulting Services was selected and they submitted three plans for each preserve. Anticipate a 5-stage approach including gathering public opinions and feedback, virtually.

Swift Prairie Forest Preserve – This is a dedicated Native Forest preserve, a special designated site with statewide recognition for the rare flora and fauna found there. Several adjacent home sites have been acquired enlarging the site with buffer to protect the high quality prairie. Nick Fuller presented change order for a contract to remove invasive species from the home sites which extends work from the end of 2021 to 2022. The anticipation is that the native plans will rebound with the opened area.

Reinventing the Public Experience – Programs have been re-invented for Jan – March including both safe in-person and virtual programing. Check out the array of programs online or in the “Conservationist” newsletter.

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