Help Save North Pond

North Pond Is Disappearing

What’s Wrong with North Pond?

Because North Pond is so beautiful, few visitors realize it is a dying ecosystem that is slowly becoming a shallow wetland. The Pond’s health is negatively impacted by:

  • Shallow depth: Many people are surprised to know the Pond’s maximum water depth is only 3 feet, limiting aquatic habitat and inhibiting temperature regulation.
  • High temperatures: The Pond’s water is too warm in the summer, creating algae blooms that prevent healthy aquatic habitat.
  • Erosion: The unstable shoreline is slowly falling into the Pond, leading to sediment and pollution accumulation and shallow depths.
  • Nutrient run-off and sediment: The Pond is filling up with organic and mineral material like fertilizers, grass, leaves, bird poop (yikes!), tree limbs, and more.
  • Canada Geese: The barren, eroding shoreline attracts geese, who contribute to the Pond’s nutrient overload (see above).

Without quick intervention, these factors will kill the Pond as we know it, taking away a beloved human greenspace and destroying urban habitat for many native animal species. But there’s still time! If we work together to #DigDeepForNorthPond, we can save this treasured urban oasis and preserve North Pond not just as part of Lincoln Park’s past, but also its future. With a $7.1 million budget, our restoration project is estimated to begin late Fall 2021 and be completed by the end of 2022.

The North Pond Restoration Project

The restoration and long-term stewardship encompass five key phases:


Complete several studies to finish the master plan, including topographic and boundary study, tree inventory, and detailed pond bottom and sediment analysis. These summer 2020 studies added important data to already completed studies, including soil analysis, water quality testing, water balance/hydrology analysis, and depth and sediment studies. We will host several public meetings in November 2020 to collect and build on community input provided at earlier meetings, which will be integrated into the final restoration master plan. The plan is expected to be completed in Fall/Winter 2020/2021. Come back to this page often to see compiled results of the first phase.


Deepen 25% of the Pond to 8’ and dredge remaining pond expanse to remove sediment to increase water circulation and oxygen turnover, decrease water temperature, improve aquatic habitat, and reduce algae growth. Special care will be taken during the dredge to ensure the minimal disruption to resident animals, plants, and the general public.  Dredged material will be dewatered in fenced parkland north of North Pond and re-used in Lincoln Park and at Big Bend Park in South Chicago during the spring of 2022. A recent study found that the Pond, historically, had no bottom liner, increasing water loss below. A new liner, consisting of a natural polymer that will be sprayed in the Pond and settle at its bottom, will increase water retention and reduce city water use. The extensive design work, equipment mobilization, and sedimenthauling  costs all contribute to making the dredge the most significant project cost. All subsequent steps are dependent on dredge completion. 


Grade and stabilize the pond edge to decrease erosion and pollution run-off into the Pond while providing additional public gathering and engagement opportunities around the shoreline. Areas of gradual slope will be planted with a variety of submergent and emergent native vegetation to stabilize the pond bank, whereas areas of steeper slope will be stabilized with natural limestone outcroppings interspersed with native plantings and public gathering areas.


Increase the amount and quality of natural areas surrounding the Pond to foster greater biodiversity, model natural infrastructure techniques, and provide public engagement/education opportunities with urban nature. Plans include doubling the size of the West Prairie (completed 2019), planting hundreds of native trees (ongoing, with phase one completed Fall 2019 and Spring 2020), and installing underdrains and water-loving sedges and other such plants in new natural areas around the Pond to capture and filter storm-water from adjacent parkland. This last component provides an additional water source to the Pond to reduce or eliminate its reliance on municipal water. 


North Pond’s restoration is directly dependent on community support and involvement, with 100% of project funding coming from private donors and foundations. Without support from the community, North Pond’s restoration will not be possible. Community investment will also be vital to the Pond’s long-term stewardship and care. Our restoration efforts are focused on developing consistent, long-term community commitments to North Pond through volunteer stewardship, public awareness, and educational programs. Learn more about how you can get involved below or donate/start your own crowdfunding page for the project here.

Learn More and Share Your Thoughts!

There are many ways to learn about and to share your thoughts or questions on North Pond’s restoration: check out project information below; attend a virtual public meeting or schedule your own virtual presentation; complete our project survey or view project diagrams and offer feedback. Still have questions or comments? Email us anytime.


In November 2020, the Conservancy hosted virtual public meetings to discuss North Pond’s restoration.

If you did not attend, you can view the presentation or watch the recording of the November 11 meeting.

Or schedule a presentation for your group or building. E-mail Doug Widener to schedule a North Pond presentation.


Offer your comments and submit questions related to the North Pond Restoration project by completing our online survey. Visit the link below to offer feedback on key project elements.

How Can I Help?

  • Contribute: We’re over halfway to our goal for the project budget, but North Pond’s restoration will not happen without your help! Public funding is not available, making community support critical to the project’s success. Community funding ensures that the restoration’s achievements are maintained through regular stewardship. You can donate and/or start your own crowdfunding page here.
  • Volunteer: Help us take care of North Pond! We rely on dedicated volunteers and corporate groups to maintain the Pond’s ecosystems. Our North Pond Champions also need help getting out the word of this important project. Join us in preserving one of Lincoln Park’s only dedicated natural areas.
  • Host a Meeting: Host a virtual meeting with friends, neighbors, or community group to learn more about the project. The more awareness we can build around this, the better! The entire community must #DigDeepForNorthPond. Contact Doug Widener for more information about hosting a meeting.
  • Learn More: Follow progress on our social media: FB @chicagolincolnpark and Instagram @lpconservancyE-mail Doug Widener to set up a 1-on-1 meeting to learn more about the project and how you can help North Pond.

Thank you to our generous donors for helping us help North Pond and all of Lincoln Park!

Project Timeline

Additional Project Resources

A variety of files are available to download/print for personal use or to spread the word!

Explore and learn more about North Pond through activities that connect learners of all ages to the this urban nature sanctuary.

Soil Sampling – Look more closely at what’s under our feet: Open/Download PDF
Cupcake Geology – See through the Earth’s surface with delectable treats: Open/Download PDF
Topographic Mapping – Learn the lay of the land: Open/Download PDF
Bark Rubbing – Identify trees: Open/Download PDF

Meet the Project Team

Enjoy this video produced with Compass realty about the project.

We host monthly Wildflower Walks at North Pond from Spring to Fall to share the wonders of North Pond’s plants and animals with visitors. Check out our 2020 virtual walks below.

North Pond Stories

Thank you to all our North Pond Campaign Donors!


Lindsay Abney
Joyce Foundation
American Endowment Foundation
Anglers’ Club of Chicago
Erin Arnold
Anne Stiles Bagan
Jennifer Banas
Peter and Betsy Barrett
David Belt
Allison Bengfort
Lawrence Berlin
Ayon Bhattacharya
Brad Black
Suzanne Blaydes
Al Braun
Julia Briggs
Jane Buckwalter
Catherine Carter
Joseph Cesarik
Katie Cibulsky
Andrea Cohen
Veronica Cook
Caroline Corboy
Jeanne Couchman
Samantha Dahlstrom
David David Shiner
Dane Deasy
Hailey Doctor
Caitlin Donato
Sandy Doyle
Kristin Dulcan and Ray Camp
Gerson Ecker
Stephen Elpern
Everest Family Foundation
Megan Fellman
Sarah and Fred Flosi
Paul Francuch
Janet Franz
Carla Funk
Lauren Gardner
Lillian Geary-Forch
Jessica and Joseph Glaser
Nathaniel Gonner
Jane and Robert Goodman
Michael Graff
Richard and Mary Gray
James Grusecki
Aaron Hammond
Karen Harder
Penny Harwood
Robert and Dorothy Hernquist
Sally Hewitt
Ann Hoenig
Susan Horn
Phillip Hoylman
Melissa Huff and Richard Alkire
Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
Jim Beam Brands, Co.
Joyce Foundation
Vikrant and Aon Kalra
James Kastenholz and Jennifer Steans
Lorraine and Steve Kaufman
Lauren Kincaid-Filbey
Kay Kirkpatrick
Kathryn Klein
Katie Kolberg
Lauren Krause
Paul Kuhn
Mary Kupjack
Virginia and Frederick W. Langrehr
Sara Lenart
James and Susanne Lenz
Michael Levin
Samuel Lichtenfeld and Melanie H. Kahn
Michael Liska
Ryan Long
Margo Lyons
Maria Maldonado
Margot & Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation
Michael Martineau
Clark and Sari Maxfield
Albert McCally
Erin McInerney
Adi Mehta
Claudia Mendelson
Mark Micheli
Ted and Donna Miller
Lori and Michael Mitchell
James Montana
Linda Morning
Madeleine Murphy
Theodore Naron
Stacie Newmark
Anthony Nuval
Martin and Bonnie Oberman
Susan and John Papadopulos
John and Nancy Patek
Nikki Piermarini
Stephen Porvin
Jane Price
Barbara Provus
Norman and Helene Raidl
Giselle and Mark Ratain
Brandon Reed
Sharon Repka
Hector Rios
Julie Rocap
Ilina Rosoklija
Joseph Rubel
David and Tina Ruttenberg
Janet Scanlon
Ronald and Joanne Schlacks
Mary Schulatz
Susan Schwartz
Bonnie and Orrin Shifrin
Carl and Jane Smith
Jonathan Snyder
Charles Stanford
Robert and Branka Steinbaugh
Michael Stenson
Frederick Stone
Eric Sullivan
Peter and Patricia Sweeney
J. Scott Sykora
Gerald Talsky
Allison Thawley
The Donnelley Foundation
Charles Thomason
Robert Tomes and Cynthia Zeltwanger
Bradley Troast
Elizabeth Turley
Mark Untiedt
John and Lyn Vaughn
Erin Vicelja
Karen Walaszek
Trudy Weber
Michelle Welch
Joe Williams
Dave Woosencraft
Susan Wydra
Janice Young
Nicholas Zeppos
Zell Family Foundation
Friedrich and Penny Ahadi
Danny Altkorn
Mary H. and Paul F. Anderson
Dana Angotti-Novick and John N. Novick, Jr.
Sanibh Aryan
Stuart Baker
Tom Banghart
William Baude
Jennifer Benefield
Susan Benner and John Meeks
Jennifer Bernstein
Amy Bickers
Lauren Blackburn
Michele Boglio
Nancy Breseke
James Broeking
Conrey Callahan
Lisa Centone
Robert Chirinko and Barb Cohen
Midge Cogan
Stephanie Combs
Eric and Judith Cooper
Kaitlin Cordes
Valerie Craig
Moshe Naor Danieli
Ryan Dawson
Donna Del Principe
Joseph Doherty and Gretchen Hoffmann
Caitlin Donato
Dr. Scholl Foundation
John Dunagan
Joann Eisenberg
Robert Ennis
Elisha Faber
Thomas Ferrell
Barbara Fosco and David N. Missner
Michael Frankenstein
Barbara Friedman
Claire Gadbois
Dorothea Gastevich
Arlene Gill
Chris and Alyssa Glimco
Matthew Gonwa
James Goodridge and Joan Riley
Kathleen and Michael Graham
Jason Green
Kelly Hajduk
Carol Hammond
Virginia Harding
Julia Heller
Dana Herpe
Si High
Brad Holland
Craig and Pam Howard
Nancy Hriljac
Nick Huggett
Tamima Itani
Jerry and Karen Johnson
Nancy Juda and Jens Brasch
Ravindra and Hymavathy Kandula
Marilyn Katz
Lorraine Kells
Christopher King
Ray Klebba
Sanford Klein
Gary Kolesar
Hilit Kravitz
Justin Kulovsek
Elizabeth Kurman
Cary Latimer
Neal Lenhoff and Matt Kunkel
Angie and Marc Levenstein
Paul and Susan Levine
Jeffrey Liem and Hilit Kravitz
Kathleen Logan
Pedro Lopes
Kathleen Mackay
Charles Mangum
Jenny Marks
Elise Masur
Robert Mayfield
Woody McCally
Matt McKee
Colin Meier
Charles Mesh
Shawn Michols
David and Joan Miller
Danish Mohammed
Andrew and Allie Moran
Mike Mullen
Charles and Nancy Nadler
Cheryl Neal
Dung Nguyen
Mary O`Neil
Kevin Olson
Christopher Parsons
Jacques and Beverly Perret
Matthew Plachy
Drs. Jodi L. and Glenn M. Preminger
Abigail and Dave Prinn
Matt Pudnos
Dorothy Ramm
Rob Rauch
Jim Reichardt
Michael Richman
Elizabeth Roberts
Desiree Rogers
Ross Family Foundation
Wayne and Mary Russell
Susan Salpeter
Steven Schein
Michael Schneiderman
Stuart Schulman
Paul Selwold
Dick Simpson
Karen Smith
Dariel Stack
Heather Stefek
Michael and Salme Steinberg
Denise Stewart and George Engeln
Louis Storino
Timothy Sullivan
Janet Swenson
Philip Szczepkowski
Dale Taylor and Angela Lustig
 The Cairn Fund
The Pritzker Pucker Foundation
Neil and Candace Thompson
Hector Torrez
Ken Truitt
Christiana Tye
Peter Vale
Peter Vazzano and Sandra G. Nelson
Peter Vilkelis
Edward Walchak
Ashley Weiss
Lorna Widdes
Iris Witkowsky
Jared Wunsch
Mary Kay and Stephen Wysham
Susan Zabriskie
Neale Zingle
Olga Alario
James and Sheila Amend
Judith Anderson
Kristen Appelson
Marlena Ascher
Andy Bakker
Bridget Barnes
Kimberly Beis
Jenny Benefield
Elisa Benson
Bo Beslach
Hilary Bingle
Tiffany Blanchette
Constance Bonbrest
Laurel Breuer
Carey and Cynthia Brunelli
William and Emanuela Carney
Anthony Ceravolo and Shisha Amabel
Sierra Chmela
Aiden Cohan
Michelle M. Comella
Marsha Cooper
Ann Corkery
John Crowley
Muhammad Darwish
Patricia Dearing
Mary Dietrick
James and Debbie Donahugh
Philip and Marsha Dowd
Sarah Ducoin
Lorrie DuPont and Nick Lynn
Margee Elias
Viktoria Erhardt
Doug Feinstein
Marcia Flick
Ben Foster
Jennifer Frantom
Alexander Front
Ruth Ganchiff
Stacey Gattuso
Mary Joan Gilmour
Chris Goldrick
Adrian Gonzalez
Yasmin Gosiengfiao
Beverly Graham
Heinz Grob
Rebekah Hamilton
Kris Hansen Gallagher
Jessica Harrison
Katherine and James Hepp
Kiley Heth
Sara Hock
Alice Hoos
Jack Howard
Erick Huck
John Hurley
Alexander Itkin
Margaret Johnston
Nancy Kalchbrenner
Julie Kanter
Kenneth and Barbara Kaufman
Rebecca Kerlin
Sylvia and John F. Kinney
Gale and John Klein
Kathleen Koehl
Alicia Kozikowski
Ronald and Anstiss Krueck
Michael Kundert
Glenn Laken
Jim Lauer
Scott Lennox
Heidi Levin
Kevin Li and Lori Sugarman
Becki Lindley
Peggy Long
Mabry Lulli
Anthony Maggiore
Mansueto Foundation
Todd and Martha Martin
Wil Matthews
Dennis McAvoy
Claudia McDermott
Bill and Leoni McVey
Jerome Meites
Max and Katie Meyers
John Mikosz
Eunhee Milutinovic
John Montague and Patricia Aluisi
Jennifer Morgenstern and Burgess C. Wilson
Melinda and James Munson
Karen Naranjo
Marianne Nesler
Kathryn Niedner
Sharon O’Brien
Chris and Lauren O’Neill
Susan S. Pastin
Philip D. Block III Family Foundation
Susan Polachek
D. Elizabeth Price
Kate Proudfoot
Steven Radtke and Dianne Goren Radtke
Julie Rand
Lynn Raymond
Char Reinhold
Jeremy Riel
Andrew Robertson
Linda Rosenthal
Eric and Lindsey Rothfeder
Diana and Ed Ruthman
Pat Samata
Nancy Schlack
Donald and Susan Schopfer
Marian Schulz
Kerry Shannon
Andre Smith
Kimberly Smith
Ronald and Misang Stalzle
Elinor Stege
Paul Steinke
Helene Stoffey
Daniel Sullivan
Margaret and Mike Sweeney
Kyle Syers
Virginia and Bob Szymkowski
Patricia Teplitz
The David Pattis Memorial Foundation
The Shapiro Grynsztejn Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Rachel Thompson
Mark and Rita Tresnowski
Tod Turle
Mark and Jim Tyle
Andrew Van Ryzin
Sarah Vetrano
Erika Vogel
John Washburn
Weiss-Read Charitable Fund
Mark Wight and Eszter Borvendeg
Ronald and Linda S. Wolf
Suzanne and Mike Wychocki
Karen Yamasaki
Mark Zampardo
Matt Zwicky
Walk the Pond_8 copy

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