Land and Water, Inc.
This 51.8 acre parcel owned by the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District was historically used for grazing purposes and contained a channelized section of Deer Creek, a tributary to the Rock River. More recently, the area was used for passive recreation with walking trails extending from the main campus of Skare Park to the South. Although some native plant communities were intact, disconnection from the historical floodplain and lack of management resulted in degraded plant communities as well as a loss in wetland features along the banks as non-native and weedy upland species became dominant within the area.
Due to hydrological regime and native seedbank potential, the site was selected for a stream mitigation bank within the USACE Rock Island District service area. After work to re-meander the creek and large scale clearing operations were completed, ENCAP, Inc. was contracted to install erosion control blanket, perform native seeding and installation of vegetative plugs, and conduct ecological maintenance, monitoring and reporting work. Four distinct plant communities were restored within the floodplain including wet prairie/sedge meadow, floodplain woodland/savanna, wet-mesic woodland/savanna, and wet-mesic prairie. Great care during the invasive species management process was necessary to not only encourage the establishment of planted species, but also of high-quality native species that emerged from the seedbank after grading was completed.
In just three years, the site is meeting all final performance criteria and was recommended for early approval in 2021 by the Interagency Review Team. The site exhibits extremely high floristic diversity and the stream corridor is functioning as designed. The area is expected to provide long-term ecological benefit as well as continued passive recreation opportunity for the community.