Bring a piece of the Gnome show Home With You


North Pond Restoration Update

Share to:

So, why the fence??! 

So, you noticed the fence? That is a silly question; it’s hard to miss. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, installation of fencing north of the pond to the Divvy bike station happened this week. Thank you in advance for your patience during this temporary inconvenience. We know this is a beloved part of the park and its closure is disappointing but give us six weeks and we think you’ll like what you see.

The reason for the fence is two-fold. First, this part of the park floods and becomes a swampy mess–or as one park visitor recently coined it, ‘north-North Pond’–rendering it unusable during good portions of the year. Contractors finished most of the major dredging activity earlier this week and beginning next week, the remaining fill material that was serving as a temporary land bridge will be removed to connect the pond once again. This fill will be used to fill and grade the north lawn area to reduce flooding and make it more usable, more often.

Second, as we’ve shared in other blogs, North Pond doesn’t receive enough refill from rainfall alone to keep it full, with municipal water making up the difference. To reduce the use of municipal water for recharge, we are installing a drainage system under the north lawn (and to a lesser degree portions of the park east and west of the pond, too) to collect and direct stormwater from low-lying areas to the pond as an additional source of make-up water. The result will be more accessible park space and a more sustainable pond. We hope to have this work completed and grass seeded and established by Labor Day, with the fencing coming down soon thereafter.

Speaking of water, a few more tidbits on that front. Coupled with the drainage system above, we will line the pond with a natural polymer powder that will sink to the bottom and bond with the sediment. While turtles and other animals will still be able to burrow into it, it will create a semi-impermeable barrier to significantly reduce the pond’s current water loss to groundwater, further reducing the need for using municipal water for makeup. In August we will install a new water outlet and automated pump with sensors so that when municipal water is needed it turns on and off automatically, making it significantly more precise and efficient. New aerators will also be installed across the pond to help keep water moving, which is key to the pond’s health and that of the species that depend on it.

In closing, now that the major part of the dredge is complete, one can see the positive effects of the restoration already beginning to show. Water is flowing more freely and it’s clearer, bluer, and less green than it’s been in years. While we have a way to go, I know everyone will be happy to hear that we are on track to finish the entire project ahead of schedule, likely in early October. Stay tuned to our blog series and the North Pond website for updates. Thank you for your continued patience and support!

To learn more or set up a meeting contact

Related Posts

North Pond shallows

North Pond Water Levels

As has been expressed by many regular visitors to North Pond, water levels have seemed lower than normal this winter. The shallow appearance may be striking but is no cause

Read More

Winter 2024 Docent Update

The docent program is off to a great start in 2024, and we’re excited to share that docents are now scheduled in the Conservatory on Thursday mornings and afternoons, in

Read More
Scroll to Top

Wonders of the Park Gala!

Thursday, May 16th

Indulge in an evening of elegance and philanthropy with us at the Saddle & Cycle Club of Chicago.

Skip to content