May 2016

Chemical Treatments Scheduled to Begin at
"Hillcrest Lake"

Despite the findings in the Hey and Associates report and the recommendations of the Natural Resources Commission, the City of Prospect Heights has decided to move forward with the plans to apply aquatic herbicide to the portion of the wetlands often referred to as "Hillcrest Lake". 

Setting aside the recommendations of the PHNRC and numerous other ecologists, the city has hired the Clark Company to do the treatments. We met with Jennifer Biancalana, Mosquito & Aquatic Service Consultant on April 22nd and again on May 11th.

"We were impressed with the company that the city has hired," said Dana Sievertson, PHNRC Commissioner. "Mr. Joe Wade, the City Administrator, has done a very good job of finding a company that does this sort of thing, yet retains an overall environmental consciousness. If we have to go down this path, we believe this company will error on the side of conservation and a slower path."

Ms. Biancalana relayed to the commissioners that the process would begin with the creation of a biomap of the native elodea to determine where the highest concentrations of the plant occur in the water. These concentrations would become the "targets" of the chemical onslaught. They will also conduct random rake tests to determine if there are any other aquatic plants in the mix and what invasives, if any, may need to be treated. The Hey report noted that only native elodea was present. 

Ms. Biancalana also pointed out that native elodea was a good guy and asked why we were trying to kill it. Tim 
Kupczyk, a resident of the Hillcrest Lake area, answered the question by responding on behalf of the home owners that did not like the way it looked.

Going forward, Biancalana said "We will submit our report from the biomapping and at that point we will review and decide if we do anything. In any case, we would never treat more than 50% of the area."

When pressed on what follows the initial treatment, she further responded, "We will definitely have algae within a few days. We will begin treating that immediately and will follow up 3-4 more times during the summer. You have to know," she added, "that this is a shallow lake. If water levels drop to the point where we cannot get a boat out there to treat, you may end up with 7 acres of algae for the summer. The best we would be able to do is treat 10' out from the shore line."

The Natural Resources Commission asked to be informed on every step in the process. Stay tuned. Click here to read the recommendations of the PHNRC

Update as of the May 11 meeting:  At this meeting, we were informed that two attempts to conduct the biomapping had failed and a comprehensive rake test was conducted. Click here for the results of the rake test and the map of treatment plan. It was determined at that time by Clark representative Jennifer Biancalana and the resident Tim Kupczyk that the chemical application would be done to favor the east side of the lake and a portion of the center. 

It was also noted that the chemical to be used would be a product know as Clipper. Click here for product label. This choice was made because of Kupczyk's insistence on treating a portion of the center. "The chemical we intended to use, Diquat, binds itself into the muck," said representative Biancalana. "If we use boat to apply it, the propeller will force it into the muck, not something we want to do," she concluded.

Treatments are scheduled to begin sometime between May 23rd and the first week of June. City Administrator Joe Wade and Biancalana assured us residents will be adequately warned of the process. PHNRC Commissioners will be on hand for the application and subsequent Algae treatments.   

Final Update: This official notice was sent to us by the City Administrator, Joe Wade. 

“Clarke Aquatic Services will be performing a herbicide application on Hillcrest Lake on Monday, May 23rd.  It is recommended residents discontinue recreational activities on the lake from Monday-Wednesday to allow the herbicide application to work.  This includes boating, fishing, canoeing and swimming.  Do not allow pets or humans to drink from the lake during this time.”
PHNRC Selects Summer Intern
The Natural Resources Commission was ecstatic to learn of the generous donation of a paid intern position for the summer of 2016. It was a benchmark moment in the organization's history. What was not expected was the caliber of the applicants eager to fill the position.

The PHNRC is proud to announce the selection of 
Daniella Sanchez as its first ever summer intern. A unanimous selection of the interview committee and later approved by the board of commissioners, Daniella was the very first application we received and the very last interview conducted. Needless to say, she made a very lasting impression from start to finish.

Soon to be entering her senior year at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Daniella is looking to complete a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science at the end of 2017. She is an Honor Society member boasting a 3.5/4.0 GPA in addition to being on the Dean's list for the College of Environmental Sciences.

"We were extremely impressed with Daniella," said Commissioner Dana Sieverton. "It was a very interesting interview. Daniella was very 
succinct and measured in her answers, very conscious of her words and what she intended to say and communicate. It was extremely impressive to see such a poised and collected young woman intent on what she wanted and where she was going and what she might learn."

"All of the applicants were amazing," said Commissioner Peter Hahn. "We could have selected any one of them and been completely happy with the selection," he added.

Daniella will begin her internship on May 23rd, 2016. 

Tully Park Work Day

Residents of the Tully Park area have come together to begin the transformation of Tully Park from a overlooked, land locked liability to an amazing natural area asset that the entire community and the Park District will be proud of. 

You may recall from last months Resources Journal, the Park District heroically reversed their previous intentions for the park and returned it to the governance of the Tully Park residence with assistance and guidance of the PHNRC.

"It is important to know that this project is the dream and the intention of the Tully Park residents," said Commissioner Peter Hahn. "This is not one of our projects and PHNRC is simply "consulting" and lending a hand whenever and 
wherever it makes sense." "We have conducted two special work days," said Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski. "The residents are super compassionate, committed and driven. It is amazing what has been accomplished. Our first work day we removed more buckthorn in a single day than we ever have in our history," she added.
Resident Wendy Dewar added, "What a way to spend May Day! I was looking for one, all encompassing adjective to describe this first work day at Tully Park and finally decided that AWESOME was just not good enough.  So to describe this day of working on our park with our neighbors, the Natural Resource Commission (NRC), volunteers and other folks that are concerned about our environment I offer up the following descriptions: fulfilling, enlightening, cooperative, productive, unifying, Eco-friendly, delicious (kielbasa) and exhausting (not gonna lie, it was hard work but so worth it). Thank you to the PHNRC for helping us make the rejuvenation of Tully Park a reality. Thank you to all the folks that have and will help make this park a beautiful nature area for all to enjoy.  It is so very exciting to have so many people pulling together to make this a success!"

Resident Mary Ellen Siemens added, "Today was an outstanding day.  So much of it had to do with PHNRC.  Months ago, when we were fighting to keep the park, your interest in helping us was, in part, what led to the PHPD’s decision to reverse their course of transferring it out of their jurisdiction. Now it remains, and with your help we have begun to transform it into a beautiful natural area for all to enjoy."
"I am so grateful," she continued,  "That you gave so much of your time, energy, and impressive knowledge (!) to us today.  Together, along with about 15 of our neighbors, we made huge headway in removing the invasive buckthorn from the wooded park perimeter, and we began preparation for planting native species - which you are donating to us!  Everyone felt a great sense of pride today in working together in this first (big) step of transforming Tully Park. Not only has keeping Tully Park been a victory for all of us, but most importantly, it has brought our neighborhood together.  We fought together for a cause, and with your help, we won.  We are a better community as a result. I can’t thank you and the NRC enough for being such a great gift to this community.  I look forward to our continued work together.  And…volunteering is fun!!"

Beginning Bird Walk Kicks Off Park District/PHNRC Summer Classes

This last Saturday kicked off the 2016 season of PHNRC/Park District summer/fall classes. Beginning Bird Walk, under the direction of The Bird Conservation Network's Mary Lou Mellon and Lee Ramsey led a sizeable group of beginning birders on a tour of the Prospect Heights Slough.

"I thought today’s beginning bird walk at the Slough was terrific" said BCN President Mary Lou Mellon. "Goodness the work that you guys have done there is amazing and the birds are surely responding to the wonderful restoration!  Additionally I was very pleased with the attendance and all the people seemed to have a great time.  The egrets, great blues and wood ducks really put on a show!  I was surprised at the good attendance because it was so cold.  I think that shows that there is a lot of interest in birding in Prospect Heights."

"The most exciting part of the day was seeing my first "life bird", the indigo bunting," said Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski. "It was the bluest bird I have ever seen, made all the more special by the fact that it was at our Slough."  BCN's Lee Ramsey was equally surprised at the number and diversity of birds campers saw that Day. "We had one rare sighting that has been reported at the slough for several days now. The odd sighting of a solitary sand piper caught us by surprize." 

Park District/PHNRC classes resume on May 28th with the next bird walk. Visit for more details. 

Next up for Nature Speaks, Chris Anchor

Registration is now open for renowned Senior Wildlife Biologist for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Chris Anchor,  makes his presentation "Wildlife of the Chicagoland Area" On June 22nd, 2016. Mr. Anchor's presentation is an overview of wildlife and wildlife habitat management over the past three decades.

All Nature Speaks events take place at the Prospect Heights public library in the Borland Meeting Room and starts promptly at 7:00. Complete information about Nature Speaks can be found on our website at

Click here to register.

What's New at the Slough?

May has many new surprises.

Commissioners finally had the time to make the much needed and more permanent repairs to the carp fencing that protects the native aquatic plantings at the south side of the slough. Over the winter things had fallen into disrepair. "Finally, we had time to get out and do the work," said commissioner Peter Hahn. "What we did and what we learned here today will make it so much easier when we move on to the off shoreline plantings in the "Hillcrest Lake" portion of the wetlands," he concluded. The  carp fencing has been installed to protect native shoreline aquatic plant installations.

The repairs should be good for at least two years, or when the plants have reached stability and no longer need them. 

Also breaking ground; trilliums, woodland phlox, native geraniums and the rare Michigan lily. "Last year, we were delighted to see one rare Michigan lily make an appearance," said  PHNRC Chairperson Agnes Wojnarski. "This year, we have seen at least 5 stands of hundreds throughout the Slough and that really gets us excited," she finished.

Phlox divaricata, also known as woodland phlox was planted last year by the PHNRC volunteers and has come up by the dozens. It was even more incredible to see native geraniums come up in the hundreds, all on their own from the seed bank, carpeting the woodland area.

"This will be a very exciting year, filled with surprises," said commissioner Dana SIevertson. "You never know what will pop up from the original native seed bank. We have already seen things that we planted 2 years ago come up and really doing well and dozens of native species that we did not plant, emerge from the seed bank. The principals of Natural Areas Management are working and it is really exciting."
 Commissioners restoring the carp fence                          Trillium
Woodland phlox                                                                  Michigan lilies
A flush of native geraniums
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