Restoration project to re-establish oak savanna near Willow Creek
A three-year ecological restoration project in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve that will re-establish an oak savanna near Willow Creek is set to begin in the next few weeks.
Invasive shrubs and undesirable trees will be removed from the 1.25-acre site, just east of Willow Creek and north of the Natatorium. White oaks, bur oaks and shagbark hickory trees will remain.
The goal of the project, which is supported by gift funds, is to create an open grassland with native plants beneath a broadly spaced canopy of oaks and hickories.
“Our plan is to re-establish a plant community on this site that is similar to one that might have thrived here prior to Euro-American settlement 150 years ago,” says Daniel Einstein, program manager for the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
The first phase of the project involves the removal of invasive shrubs, primarily honeysuckle and buckthorn, and some damaged trees. Seeding with grasses and other native plants will take place in the spring to protect any exposed soil.
In subsequent years, other undesirable trees will be removed and a variety of native trees, plants and shrubs will be planted.
Einstein stressed that although the site is adjacent to a known effigy mound burial site, special care will be taken to ensure that this important archaeological area will not be disturbed.