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Posted on: September 11, 2017

Kenosha County Parks begins prairie restoration

An $8,000 grant award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will help launch the first phase of a prairie restoration plan at KD Park, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser announced today.

The work began late last week, with the spraying of herbicides to eradicate non-native grasses within the restoration area.

KD Park, located off Highway KD (352nd Avenue) in Randall and Wheatland, has undergone numerous improvements since last year, including the addition of a paved parkway, parking stalls and storm water management features. The next step of the park’s masterplan calls for the restoration of a 27-acre mesic prairie in the eastern section of the park, with the project to be split into two phases.

“KD is Kenosha County’s newest park, and also its most rustic, nature-focused park,” Kreuser said. “Bringing back native prairie land is a perfect fit, and something park users will enjoy for decades to come.”

Phase I of the project will focus on converting a 12-acre field of non-native cool-season grass to an established native, tall- and short-grassland prairie. Restoration of this prairie will include over 30 species of forbs and grasses that will provide a safe habitat for local bird and insect species, including the Monarch butterfly, while also providing a recreational and educational environment for the Kenosha County community.

The project was developed by a partnership between Carthage College and the Kenosha County Parks Division. Through the leadership of Carthage and its internship program, the county was able to develop a comprehensive plan to restore a native prairie, leading to the grant award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Seeding of the prairie will likely occur late in late spring 2018. It will take approximately three years from seeding for visitors to see the results of the restoration plan.

Phase II prairie restoration also began recently with the aerial spraying of the invasive species Phragmites. This aggressive plant grows to a mature height of 20 feet and is commonly present in moist environments and wetlands, and needs to be removed in order to restore the area with native prairie grasses.

For more information on the KD Park prairie restoration plan, please visit the Kenosha County Parks website at parks.kenoshacounty.org or like us on Facebook for updates on the Parks Division restoration projects.

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