During the course of this summer I have enjoyed seeing a restoration project – that is literally across the street – mature into a successful and functional ecological asset for the community. Hoffman Estates is a suburb located northwest of Chicago, and the park district there manages a number of ponds that were created during the construction of housing there 30-40 years ago.
The ponds were constructed in the usual way, with exposed rip-rap edges. These edges were functional inasmuch as it allowed easier access for fishing, and for Canada geese as well. Algae blooms were problematic on occasion -as one might expect in ponds that were shallow, and that took in nutrient runoff from adjacent residential turf areas.
To the credit of the Hoffman Estates Park District a shoreline restoration process was started several years ago on many of these ponds, including two that we walk around quite a bit:
We’ve had a ringside seat watching the progress of these restorations, and as of 2016 they seem to knitting together well. The invasive plants seem to be waning, and the native plantings appear to be flourishing and improving in number of species. This particular restoration also includes the ditches that connect two of the ponds:
As we exit July and enter August I have noticed that – in spite of the recent heat wave – that algae blooms, while present, seem to be manageable. My anecdotal observations also seem to show more diverse bird and insect life all the way around.
For those of us who walk around, or fish within these ponds, these restorations seem to be a success. As restorationists, we need to celebrate these victories that might otherwise go under appreciated.
Are there similar restoration efforts in your town that can be models for other communities? Let’s give these projects the credit they deserve!