North Pond Restoration Update: February 24, 2023

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It’s gone! By it we mean the big metal box at the north end of North Pond that was installed last fall to cover mechanical equipment. After much anticipation and many requests, the box has been replaced by a more appropriate and esthetically pleasing metal screen designed to blend into the site’s native plants as they grow. As the weather warms in the coming weeks, the contractor will be back in the park completing a variety of punch-list items including path maintenance/repair, site-plugging aquatic plants, drainage repairs in the north lawn and repair of disturbed natural areas, among others.
As they say, all good things take time, and that includes nature. We are in a critical time for North Pond as new seeds, plants, and trees take root. During this time, we will add temporary fencing along the northwest side of the pond and in selected other areas to restrict access and provide nature the time it needs to bloom and flourish. For renderings of how North Pond will look in the future, click here

As spring approaches, signs of North Pond’s importance to nature in the city will be evident as we welcome hundreds of bird species during spring migration. Spring also begins nesting season for birds, turtles, and other creatures that rely directly on the pond. The Conservancy and our Chicago Park District partners plan to engage our local birding and wildlife communities to investigate and implement strategies to limit negative impacts during restoration. One example is creating several ‘pass-throughs’ in the existing chicken-wire fencing to allow access from the shore to the pond for birds, turtles, and others. This fencing is an important—and temporary—component of the restoration that helps preserve newly planted aquatic plants as they become established and grow. Our goal is to balance their utility and use while being sensitive and adaptive to the needs of the pond’s wildlife inhabitants during the process. If you have ideas or comments to share, please contact us.   

These tasks will be followed by the last portion of the project:  planting this spring. We will be seeding or re-seeding the entire shoreline with a native plant mix.  In selected areas, we will add to this mix a variety of native plant plugs and shrubs. Finally, nearly 70 new oak, birch, and alder trees will be planted adjacent to the pond.

Thank you for your continued input and support! 

Finally, mark your calendars for Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. The Lincoln Park Conservancy, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, will celebrate Earth Day and North Pond’s restoration in a series of events running in the park throughout the day, including park stewardship, North Pond ribbon cutting, and family-friendly nature activities along the pond and inside the museum. To learn more or to sign up for park stewardship activities visit our blog. 

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