Originally slated to be the site of a 200-acre dragon-shaped lake with a swim beach and campground, today, the 1,829-acre Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville is instead one of three regionally significant grassland bird communities in the state and home to species like meadowlarks, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, woodcocks, and bobolinks as well as state-endangered northern harriers, short-eared owls, and Henslow’s sparrows.
A stream re-meandering project has created twists and turns and a wider, shallower bank along the namesake Spring Brook. These changes have slowed the flow of water, improving aquatic habitat and allowing the brook to more easily pour over its banks and into the preserve during heavy rains, a valuable flood-control feature for nearby residents.
Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve and Springbrook Marsh Land & Water Reserve, both within Springbrook Prairie, comprise 1,650 of the preserve’s 1,824 acres. The site features expansive prairies and meadows and supports numerous rare bird species.
District ordinances already dictate the preservation of rich, natural habitats, but land and water reserve status provides an extra layer of protection for future generations. The District continues to own, manage and maintain these areas, but individuals who destroy natural resources or violate other regulations are subject to state penalties. For more on the nature preserves system, visit the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission's web page at http://dnr.state.il.us/inpc.