By Bill Kleiman, Nachusa Grasslands, TNC
Sometimes, before restoring habitat we first have to remove old buildings and infrastructure.
This Fall we closed on a tract of land with a house, two mobile homes, and three huge pole barns, a garage, a little shed, tons of rusty steel horse panels, and lots of box elders popping up in the yard.
Below is a before view:
Below is an after view. That is an old bur oak back to being in the open on a soon to be prairie hill.
Below we had an excavator demolish all the buildings. We first disconnected the electric power. We sealed the water well with bentonite. We recovered about 5 semi loads of scrap metal we hauled to the scrap metal yard. We made a number of runs to the land fill. We had the excavator pluck out a bunch of weed trees (box elder, elm, black cherry, mulberry) that were in disturbed ground. A bulldozer pushed them into piles. We seeded the area with combine harvested prairie seeds.
We still have plenty of work to do away from this developed area but we feel good about this leap forward.