Section 206, Water Resources Development Act 1996, as amended (Continuing Authority Program)
The 12.75-acre Eugene Field is located south of Foster Avenue between Ayers and Monticello Streets, and bisected by the North Branch Chicago River. This project entirely lies within the City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The river and its riparian zone was degraded. The recommended plan is currently being implemented to restore river, wetland and oak savanna habitats. Invasive plant species will be removed including cotton wood trees.
Eugene Field Park: There & Back Again, a Brief Natural History
|Total Project Cost:
|| $ 1,500,000
|| $ 975,000
|| $ 535,200
Construction was initiated in April 2011 and was completed in November 2014. The project received the 2014 Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from Chicago Wilderness. The award is for outstanding efforts to address environmental problems and restore lost function and native biodiversity in the Chicago Region.
The recommended plan would restore the landscape of Eugene Field Park as close to pre-settlement conditions as possible. The removal of fill to expose native soil series will allow for a more species rich plant community to develop over time. Although the hydrology of the surrounding area and stream system are completely unnatural, the removal of 20,000-cyd of fill will create a wetter system to support native vegetation. Half of the clean fill will be used on site to raise and level the sports field. None of the clean fill will be placed in a wetland or waterway. The banks along the Chicago River will be naturalized as part of this alternative to facilitate reconnection of the floodplain and restore the native landscape of the site. In-stream complexity will be increased through channel form restoration accomplished by placing cobble riffles and woody debris in selected locations. The cobble riffles will consist of 1,689-cyd of clean, glacial cobble stones purchased from a commercial vendor. Benefits include a more species rich stream corridor and riparian zone, improvements in local water quality, lessening the unnatural erosion along the banks, increasing quality habitat for migrating and resident birds, and provides opportunity for local schools to observe ecological activity within a heavily urbanized area.