Egermann Woods Restoration Project

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Egermann Woods Restoration Project

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is doing a restoration project for Egermann Woods. The 110-acre forest preserve is one of the few remaining pre-settlement oak forests in the county. The project along Hobson Road involves removing invasive species from 87 acres of the land. The mature hickories and oaks will remain untouched.

“We’re removing honeysuckle, buckthorn, things from Asia, things from Europe. Second growth trees. Things that grew up over the last 40 years since we purchased the property in 1974,” said Erik Neidy, director of natural resources at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

Why Removing Invasive Species

The project will help to protect native plants like ferns and wildflowers, as well as wildlife species – some that are state-endangered or rare. “So the reason we remove invasive species is because, especially in our oak and hickory woodlands, is their inability to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. So they crowd out everything. They crowd out the good stuff – the flowers, the grasses,” said Neidy. “And when there’s no good herbaceous layer, it causes erosion, it doesn’t allow the oak trees or the other plants to regenerate.”

In the current part of the project, crews are cutting and removing invasive trees and shrubs, and carefully apply herbicides so these plants can’t grow back. Residents may also see burn brush piles on site. The Egermann Woods Habitat Improvement Project began this month and it will take around three winters to complete.

“We utilize the winter because the ground is frozen and there’s less impacts to the soil, to the plants, etc. So we want to use the cold temperatures to our advantage,” said Neidy.

Eventually, crews will also work to over seed the area with native plants and grasses, as well as replanting of trees and shrubs “to restore the area back to a more high quality or naturalized landscape,” said Neidy. The Egermann’s came to Naperville in the 1800’s and were a well-respected business and farm family.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.