DeKalb-Area Parkland To Be Recultivated With Native Plants

Sep 8, 2020

Credit Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District

Hopkins and Rotary Park in DeKalb will soon have some of their turf grass replaced with native plants for local pollinators.

The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District is working with the DeKalb Park District to convert nearly 23 acres of land.  Through the fall, they’ll clear the existing grass and vegetation, then plant native seeds in November. Amy Doll with the Park District said that will leave the land somewhat barren for a brief period. 

“There’s going to be some short-term pain, I guess," she said. "It won’t be as pretty as people want it to be this fall, but the long term gains will be really advantageous.

One of the Water Reclamation District's existing restored habitats.
Credit Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District

But once the seeds blossom, there will be a variety of plants for native pollinators, such as wild bergamot and milkweed.  Water District Management Analyst Nick Newman said they'll also vary depending on the park. 

“They bloom all across the entire season," he said. "So you’ll have different plants blooming in May and then in June and July there will be another wave of plants, and as those die off then August and September is another wave of plants. So there’s always something there for people to see and for there to be provided for pollinators.” 

A map of the water district's current native habitats and where they plan to recultivate in Hopkins Park with the Park District.
Credit Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District

Before this project, the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District had cultivated native plants on some of its land. This was a factor that led the Park District to team up with it. The current project is being partially funded by a grant from ComEd and Openlands.