Deer Grove West Woodland And Wetland Nature Preserve

On May 5, 2009, Deer Grove West Woodland and Wetland Nature Preserve was the 500th site approved for dedication as either an Illinois Nature Preserve or Land and Water Reserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. Deer Grove West Woodland and Wetland Nature Preserve is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and represents the first acquisition of land acquired by the District in June, 1916.

The Deer Grove Preserve includes 786.9 acres dedicated as nature preserve and 248.8 acres dedicated as nature preserve buffer. Deer Grove Nature Preserve is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in Cook County and within the boundaries of the Salt Creek Watershed.

Deer Grove West Woodland and Wetland Nature Preserve supports savanna, dry-mesic upland forest, mesic upland forest, wet floodplain forest, sedge meadow and wetland communities that collectively provide habitat for 394 native plant species.

Among the plant species are the state-threatened forked aster, pale vetchling, small sundrops and marsh speedwell and the state-endangered bulrush. State threatened or endangered wildlife species reported from the site include the black tern, yellow-headed blackbird and the cerulean warbler. A state threatened reptile is also known to the site.

A large and diverse array of wildlife species has been recorded from the nature preserved including 16 bird species that are either highly or moderately sensitive to forest fragmentation. The nature preserve supports 18 species considered wildlife species in greatest need of conservation.

Deer Grove combines scenic ravines, woodlands, wetlands and prairie in a pristine landscape while also affording recreational opportunities such as fishing, birding, photography and trail use at one of the most significant and historic forest preserves in Cook County.

Deer Grove Nature Preserve provides the opportunity to restore and manage a large tract of land within the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This Division also includes an additional four to five forested sites between 800-1,000 acres in size which together afford great potential to preserve biodiversity and habitat for rare species and native gene pools within the Chicago Wilderness region.

Excerpt from a report and photos by Steven Byers, Northeastern Illinois Representative, Illinois Nature Preserves Commision.

For more information on Deer Grove Nature Preserve, go to: Forest Preserve District of Cook County or Illinois Nature Preserves Commission

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