By Bill Kleiman
If you are from northern Illinois you have heard about Bell Bowl Prairie, a remnant prairie that sits in the way of the current design for the Rockford Airport expansion. There is a website created for the purpose of saving this remnant, https://www.savebellbowlprairie.org/. Perhaps the airport authority can be convinced that a rare prairie remnant can coexist within an airport’s footprint.
This is a blog site about habitat restoration. We who work to recreate/restore grassland habitat are keenly aware of how irreplaceable remnant habitats are. We share best practices and lessons learned. Many of us claim success when we create habitat that has enough similarity to a remnant that our goals are met, such as a certain plant diversity, a return of birds, insects, and other critters calling our restorations home.
However, we don’t want remnants destroyed with the belief that the same habitat can simply be created elsewhere. Think of an art metaphor: a Rembrandt painting is not replaced with a pretty good copy.
There have been a few times when a remnant was to be destroyed and so plants were dug up and transplanted to new areas. This would be the Rembrandt painting cut up into pieces and moved from a museum to a warehouse.
We who create habitat appreciate remnant habitat.
It is the issuance of Incidental Take Authorization (ITA) permits by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and/or the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows the destruction of Bell Bowl Prairie. The immediate recinding of the ITAs before the bulldozers can resume work is needed if this virtually the last of Illinois’ remnant prairie is to be saved from destruction.
Thank you for this post. Very valuable. I completed the communications. So tired of agencies rubberstamping large corporations and projects it seems the rules are only used against the little guys.
Well said, Bill. Thank you.
Thank you Bill and Chris for posting about this important habitat that is due to be destroyed Nov 1! We can save it if we work together. Every piece of original land we can save we must do our best to do so. Suzanne Coleman