29 Jul North Pond Restoration Update: July 29, 2022
by Doug Widener
North Pond is looking like a Pond again! While a few folks (geese and ducks, too) may miss the temporary land-bridge that was used for the Pond’s dredging operations, I am sure I speak for most of us in saying that it is great to see the entire pond connected once again. Work will continue today and early next week to remove the remaining portions of the land-bridge with the material used for fine grading of the pond’s edge and for the lawn area north of the pond once new drainage is installed.
The process of ‘re-ponding’ North Pond will continue next week. The shoreline will be further graded and shaped to ready it for seeding and planting after Labor Day, tree snags will be placed in the Pond to provide habitat and basking logs and the Pond will be re-filled with additional water. By mid-August we will see the Pond and its shores looking very close to the final product; minus new plants, plugs and seeds which will come once weather cools a bit in late summer.
As the work on the actual pond tapers to completion, work in the surrounding park will continue through August, including additional drainage installations, water outlet and sewer improvements, mechanical upgrades and installation of new fencing. Stay tuned to next week’s blog for more on these infrastructure and park improvements.
When work wraps up in early fall, we will have completed the first and most important phase of the North Pond Restoration Project: the restoration of the pond and its shores. As one of Lincoln Park’s only designated natural areas, North Pond is a vital refuge for hundreds of resident and migratory birds, nearly a dozen threatened and endangered species, and a wide diversity of plants, animals, and insects that make it biologically diverse and vibrant. From the start of the project this was the primary goal of the restoration, ensuring a healthy future of this natural area for generations to come.
While we have a few more months to go to finish this initial phase, we are already planning for the project’s second: enhancing and adding new public-access features that will enable North Pond’s visitors to enjoy its beauty even more, including repair, improvements and accessibility additions to the historic casting pier. This work will also include a new east boardwalk to provide an accessible route to the pier and an amazing new vantage point to experience the pond. Stay tuned this fall for additional information on this second phase of the project, expected to be completed in 2023, and how you can help.
In closing, while North Pond is appropriately getting a lot of our (and your) attention this summer, its restoration and continued stewardship is just one way that the Lincoln Park Conservancy works to improve, protect, and enhance Chicago’s largest and most visited Park. This fall, we will launch a campaign for repairs and enhancements to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool which is celebrating 20 years since its restoration. While recommitting to our past project’s long-term care, we will also launch a new strategic plan with big and bold goals for the Conservancy to engage more people in more parts of Lincoln Park’s 1,200+ acres. With the help of these new communities and supporters like you, we can ensure that Lincoln Park remains a world-class destination for future generations.