Village Introduces Updated Ecological Cost-Share Programs
By Steve Zimmerman, Village Ecologist and Cheryl Chamberlain, Trustee
In the late 1990s, the Village of Riverwoods began encouraging residents to be good stewards of their properties through cost-share programs. The goal is to improve our property values by caring for each of our natural communities. The Village Ecologist, Steve Zimmerman, and Trustee Cheryl Chamberlain have updated these programs to make them more systematic and easier to understand. There is a program available to suit every property type.
An Ecological Consultation is now required as a gateway first step to apply for the Village Cost-Share Programs. Residents get the opportunity to spend an hour with the Village Ecologist on their property to obtain an in-depth ecological assessment and determination for which Cost-Share Programs the resident is eligible. Residents learn what will grow best on their property and how to care for it. A Program Eligibility Map/Report will be provided to the resident which summarizes the consultation, outlines all Cost-Share Programs eligible to the resident, and how to do the work. Next, if needed, the resident hires a qualified contractor to implement the work. All programs are 50/50 cost share with a Village reimbursement maximum of $2,000 (except $4,000 for the Rain Garden Program).
Ecological Consultations can be conducted year round but are best done from April through November.
The Ecological Consultation Program is a 50/50 cost-share program; the cost to the resident is $75.
Canopy & Subcanopy Tree Thinning Program – The intent of this program is to provide for the removal of selected canopy & subcanopy trees such as sugar maple and basswood in order to reduce shade levels and competition for desirable native species.
Invasive Shrub Removal Program – This program helps residents improve ecological health by removing invasive shrubs such as buckthorn and honeysuckle thereby increasing the opportunity for desirable native species.
Garlic Mustard Removal Program – This program encourages residents to remove invasive garlic mustard from their property to allow native woodland understory species to thrive.
Prescribed Burn Program – The Prescribed Burn Program provides a tool for residents with healthy woodlands and/or prairies to maintain these areas using fire. Prescribed burn management helps improve the health of a woodland or prairie removing duff, replenishing the soil with nutrients, and by allowing native plants to thrive.
Native Tree & Shrub Planting Program – Residents can improve the ecological health of their property by planting native trees and shrubs appropriate for the ecological setting.
Native Seeding & Planting Program – The intent of this program is twofold. First the Village Ecologist may recommend that an area be seeded and or planted with native species following garlic mustard removal or invasive shrub removal. Second, residents may wish to seed a woodland understory, prairie, or wetland to increase native species diversity or to fill in bare areas.
Rain Garden Program – The Rain Garden Program encourages residents to install rain gardens on private property to “micro-manage” stormwater runoff as close to the source (like downspouts, driveways, sump pump discharges) as possible. A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants. It functions by capturing and infiltrating stormwater runoff into the ground thereby reducing the flows to nearby streams and other drainageways.
Funds available for each program will be re-evaluated by the Board of Trustees on an annual basis.
Help make our programs a success and apply today!