The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook a five-year project to restore the riverine ecosystem by adding structural diversity to the river, regrading eroded streambanks, removing invasive species, and restoring native plants.
This project prevents erosion, improves habitat quality and wildlife populations, and protects the Arboretum’s tree collections. The sloped banks and new plantings create a more natural river’s edge. Boulders and woody debris in the river itself create eddies and nooks for fish, crayfish, and insects to live and breed. No wildlife was reintroduced; the alterations provided a better home for wildlife so organisms already present in the stream can find and use it.
By improving the foundation of this ecosystem, this project encourages current populations of fish, mollusks, plants, and invertebrates to move up and downstream and make it their home. The restoration process included removing trees along the riverbanks, regrading banks, planting new trees and shrubs, and adding in-river features.
From 2020 onward, the Army Corps of Engineers and The Morton Arboretum will monitor the area as plants grow, and a greater diversity of plant and animal species begin using the water and riverbanks.