With this week’s heat wave, dredging activity at North Pond also heated up and is ahead of schedule. Dredging is complete from the historic casting pier on the south to the widest portion of the Pond at its north end (see aerial photo at left). The remaining area will be dredged much deeper–to 8 feet–for optimal water quality. Given the depth and quantity of material to dredge, this portion of the operation will take longer and is estimated to go through July.
As the crew readies the northern end for dredging, work will continue on the eastern and western banks, where we are consolidating and fine shaping the shoreline. The large piles of sediment on the pond’s western banks will be removed to Big Marsh Park on Chicago’s south side, where it will be used as fill for new parkland. Once this shoreline shaping is complete, habitat snags and basking logs will be placed throughout the pond. The first of these were installed this week (see picture at right).
Thanks to the diligence of our contractors, we will be able to limit the amount of time and extent of the dredging operation’s impact on the larger park, most notably the open lawn north of the pond. Beginning June 28, a temporary construction fence with green windscreen will be installed in this area. Dredged material from the north end of the pond will be de-watered and staged here and then sent to Big Marsh. Once this operation is complete, underdrains will be installed to direct stormwater to the pond as a make-up water source while reducing flooding of this area. The lawn will also be re-graded as an additional flooding control measure and re-seeded with turf grass. This is a much-used and -loved area of the park and we thank you for your patience during this temporary disruption. We are confident that when this area re-opens in late summer, park-users will be pleased with the finished, improved landscape.
I couldn’t end without mentioning the turtles. First, this is turtle nesting season. Some turtles found at North Pond nest in the park, not around the pond. Please leave turtles found during this time in the park where you find them. For more information on turtle nesting click here. Thank you!
Second, one only needs to look at the new basking logs to see that they are already a hit with resident turtles. Look for many more this week and next as we continue to add logs back to the pond. The care of these turtles—and all pond resident and visiting species—is of prime importance. As water levels gradually got shallower in the north basin this week, a trained crew was onsite to safely move turtles and fish to the portion of the pond with open water. This activity will continue in the coming weeks as the north end is dredged. Stay tuned to next week’s blog to learn about the ways we are adaptively managing North Pond’s restoration to reduce its impact on nature and humans.