More on Northerly Island

Following up on my previous post, this link leads to a press release from the City of Chicago (dated August 30, 2012) discussing the large construction project that is currently ongoing at Northerly Island. The plans are pretty vague, and despite statements like "These improvements will create a higher quality and more diverse natural area for flora, fauna, and campers," there are few details about how habitats will be improved.  The sentence that follows: "Additionally, the previous project scope included the restoration of shoreline habitats, coastal wetland and other coastal plant communities and the installation of native plant and trees," sounds great, but it's unclear what is meant by "the previous project scope." These are not projects that have happend--are they are part of the ongoing work? Are they part of the original plans but they have been sidelined in favor of a campground?

It will be interesting to see what Northerly Island looks like when the work is finished. I'm certainly still hoping that it remains the birding gem that it has been since Meigs Field was converted to public open space in 2003, but the city's press release leaves me skeptical.

Northerly_Island_habitat.jpg

A view across Northerly Island in March 2012. The grove of willows and grasslands that cross the island were removed in 2013 to expand the amphitheater.

Josh Engel