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Lake Michiagn Fish Making Use of Lakefront Ravines

A Rainbow Trout is measured and photo documented before being released.

A Rainbow Trout is measured and photo documented before being released.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill., July 20, 2011— Five species of fish, including two listed by the State of Illinois as “species in greatest need of conservation”, were found in the ravines making use of habitat restored by the Park District of Highland Park during a survey conducted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Thursday, July 14. Longnose Dace and Lake Chub, both included in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, were netted by USACE scientists as part of a wider survey of the community’s lakefront parks and preserves. Also discovered were baby White Suckers which were likely hatched in the ravine stream as a result of spring migration by the adult fish.

“It’s exciting news that Lake Michigan fish are able to find shelter and reproduce in our ravine streams,” Rebecca Grill, the Park District’s Natural Areas Manager, said. “These fish are the living heart of what has been called the last great wild place in the Chicago region.”

The fish-friendly habitat restoration project, funded by the USEPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is being implemented at the Park District’s Millard Park on Ravine Drive in Highland Park, IL. Volunteers from the Gary Borger Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the national conservation organization and other community volunteers have been instrumental in planning, executing and maintaining the project that was designed by Shabica and Associates of Northfield, IL and constructed by V3 Companies of Woodridge, IL.

Natural cobbles from the Ravine Drive beach were used to create pool and riffle habitat; steel groynes at the outlet to the lake were cut lower to make access easier; and sheltering overhangs were built using large stones. Earlier this month, native trees and plants were planted by Park District volunteers including neighbors and members of the Natural Resources Commission of the City of Highland Park. These plants will provide cooling shade as well as a degree of soil stabilization on the streambanks.

For more information, contact Rebecca Grill at 847.579.4087 or rgrill@pdhp.org.

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