Woods && Wetlands

Woods & Wetlands


Joining Illinois Sierra Club Members in Lake and Northeastern Cook Counties

SIERRA CLUB NEWSLETTER, The Sierra Club, 1 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60602 October, 1998

Issue #24

Riskiest Pollutants – Top Polluters Now On-Line

by Evan Craig
A unique new Internet service launched in April allows you to see chemical pollution sources and hazards in sharp detail on local street maps of your community -- and send queries straight to the sources themselves. The EDF Scorecard combines scientific, geographic, technical and legal information from over 150 electronic databases to produce detailed local reports on toxic chemical pollution, available free on the Internet. Users can get reports on any of 50 states, 2,000 counties, 5,000 zip codes, or 17,000 individual industrial facilities, based on the most current federal pollution data available (1995).

Find this site by Clicking EDF Scorecard. You ll be shocked to find out what local companies are doing.

More Fun With Your CLUBReturn to Top

by Evan Craig
With the importance of the environmental issues we face, it’s easy to forget that this a club of members. Mixing with other members makes the club more fun, and more effective. We need people from around the county to help sponsor fun local events (Singles, Picnics, Benefits, Neighborhoods, Rummage) , and to welcome new members. If you would like 50 people with a common concern for preserving our environment on your next party list, call or e-mail Evan: 680-6437x4, auk@interaccess.com


By Dave Szaflarski
Greetings fellow Sierrans! I've been a member since 1988. Over the years, I've participated on several Sierra Club national outing service trips where the focus was to assist the park staff in areas where throngs of visitors are impacting the land. Along with the scenery, these trips have been quite rewarding. Locally, a volunteer steward network has grown to assist the LCFPD with the focus of restoring and rehabilitating our neglected Illinois natural areas. As the volunteer steward with the LCFPD for the site, I'm happy to report how Sierrans at the local level can make a difference helping with "service trips" to their local forest preserve. These local efforts are helping to restore and preserve our Illinois landscape and scenery. But first, a little history about the site:

WHAT: Lake Bluff Site - Lake County Forest Preserve

WHERE: On Rte. 176, go east past Skokie Hwy. (Rte. 41), over RR-crossing, proceed E. approx. 3/4-mile., and turn right (south) into water plant [Central Lake County Joint Action Water... or (JAWA)]. Proceed all the way to the right and park.

HISTORY: Up until 1916, the property remained in its natural state. Although heavily farmed and grazed after 1916, the property, with its scattered stands of large bur and red oak and hickory trees was once part of a larger oak savanna/open woodland which followed alongside a broad wetland known as the Skokie. With the channeling of the Skokie wetland around the turn of the century and the installation of drain tiles that came with farming, the parcel has been actively used. In the 1980's the Lake County Board acquired the western 80 acres for use as a reservoir for flood control. Presently, the site is considered a "non-use" site, due to its original purchase as a flood control site and limited public access. However, in 1994-95 public access to the preserve was gained when local officials allowed an adjacent 35-acre parcel to be restored (the adjacent Skokie Prairie preserve is managed by Lake Bluff Open Lands Association).

THE LAY OF THE LAND: The 80 acre property has a series of scattered oak groves and fields and also includes a secluded pond. The oaks are of impressive size (one I measured had a 13-foot circumference!)and are estimated to be over 200 years old. Although heavily farmed, its past natural glory are found where the plow or grazing missed; trilliums (red and white), wild leek, blue cohosh, white baneberry, hazelnut and ninebark are found. The secluded lake quietly and remotely serves as a wonderful birding area for waterfowl! On the pond, great blue herons are common as well as wood ducks and other waterfowl (bufflehead and mergansers, too!).

RESTORATION ACTIVITIES: To date, efforts have concentrated on trailmaintenance and areas around the ancient oaks, where buckthorn has grown beneath their limbs. We have begun to expose the oaks to their former unobstructed glory, with wonderful "viewscapes" from the formerly buckthorned thickets. Wood duck boxes have been erected for our waterfowl friends, too.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Your Lake Bluff - Lake County Forest Preserve can be visited at your leisure. If you feel the urge to assist in helping restoration work at the Lake Bluff Site come to a work day! Work days are the third Saturdays of each month. For more information please call David Szaflarski @ (847) 228-2453 for more information.


by Evan Craig
Most Illinois rivers are treated as part of the land they run through, rather than as the artery of their watersheds, and classified as "non-navigable." Besides marginalizing the concerns of paddlers, this generates problems up and down the river. The Des Plaines Watershed Conference, on Saturday, June 20, seeks to form a broad alliance to more effectively address management of floodplaines, stormwater, water quality, recreation and native habitats.

To set the stage for the Conference, two 26’ voyageur canopes will carry distinguished guests down 80 miles of the proposed Des Plaines River Watertrail over three days. You can take part by meeting the canoes when they come through, or paddling with, or along side them. They will start at the Wisconsin border on Friday. June 12th. Call the hot-line or 773-267-0146 for more details.

Donate your old PC to the ClubReturn to Top

by Evan Craig
A few members have volunteered to help produce this Newsletter. Those with PC’s have volunteered only a little time, and those volunteering more time do not have computers. If you have time and a computer, you could really help the Group. Meanwhile, we are looking for a computer(s). Please consider donating used equipment, or money, to our effort. We’re looking for individual components, or complete systems, with these minimum specifications:
486 PC w/ 8Mb SVGA 14" Monitor 8 Mbyte SIMs 14,400 Modem
300 dpi Printer Windows MS Word CD ROM
$$ to Woods & Wetlands. Note "for PC" on the check.
Our ability to communicate to our members is the key to organizing our environmental support. Besides the Newsletter, better e-mail access will help us gather and communicate breaking information on threats to our environment.

The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook (Island Press, 1997) Return to Top

edited by Stephen Packard and Cornelia Mutel
review by John F. Wasik
The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook is probably more than you need if you're thinking about restoration on the residential level. The book was basically culled from a seminar of the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) and co-edited by Stephen Packard, the Nature Conservancy's prairie restoration guru. While the book has a didactic tone to it, there's much in-depth material here, but it's not well organized. I tried to look up "burning" in the index, for example, and couldn't find it, although several sections deal with it.

While this book is the postgraduate approach to prairie, savanna and woodland restoration, you can't fault it for its extensive resources, in particular the long lists of native species and seed collection times. Beginners might be put off by the non-linear flow to it; it jumps and starts on several related subjects. If you want the "Full Monty" on this evolving and vital branch of ecology, however, this is the right text. What it lacks in readability it compensates for by providing authoritative information.

Here's a short list of more accessible books:

Prairie Establishment & Landscaping by William McClain, available through the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Heritage, 524 2nd St., Springfield, IL 62701. A great primer that lists species, planting information and burning advice.

The Wild Ones Handbook, available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/greenacres/wildones This is a comprehensive, online handbook that walks you through the natural landscaping process step by step. It's far better than any written publications I've seen.

-- John is author,Green Marketing & Managment: A Global Perspective (Blackwell, 1996)

Environment Sweeps County Board PrimariesReturn to Top

Thanks to your vote, every one of our 8 endorsed candidates won in the primary election! All members of the Sierra Club Woods & Wetlands group can be proud of these candidates, and all the people who helped and contributed to their campaigns. Congratulations! See the Elections section of this website for the results.

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