The Village of Riverwoods was born out of an idea by Edward Ryerson to offer residents the experience of living in a unique woodland setting. The woodlands in the Village remain a treasured community asset requiring their preservation and management. In the spirit of remaining consistent with Ryerson’s vision, the Village has enacted a Tree/Woodland Protection Ordinance and developed an Ecological Cost-Sharing Program aimed at preserving the woodlands while assisting residents with managing the woodlands on their property.
The Ecology Department (Applied Ecological Services, Inc.) administers the Village’s Tree/Woodland Protection Ordinance and Ecological Cost Share Programs, reviews building permit applications to address tree and woodland protection, works with other Village departments to coordinate permitting and cost-share efforts, and provides informational and educational consultations to residents.
Tree/Woodland Protection Ordinance
In 2005 the Village enacted the Woodland Protection Ordinance to set limits on how much woodland can be removed from a lot. In 2018 the Woodland Protection Ordinance was updated and combined with the updated Tree Protection Ordinance with the purpose to further protect woodlands, control the removal of desirable native trees, and encourage the removal of harmful invasive species. In addition, the Village’s Ecologist completed “Natural Plant Community” mapping for the entire Village in 2015 and a “Woodland Delineation” for each and every lot in the Village in 2017.
In all cases where residents or businesses propose to remove woodland or trees, the owner must submit a permit application and obtain a removal permit. The penalty for removing protected woodland and/or trees without the proper permits can range from fines to ecological restoration.
The Village has also enacted several Ecological Cost-sharing Programs to help residents assess the health of the woodlands on their property and encourage the implementation of various ecological management strategies such as canopy thinning, invasive shrub removal, native seeding, native tree/shrub planting, rain gardens, and controlled burns. (Ecological Cost Share Programs).
Woodlands Restoration Demonstration Area at “Woodland Preserve”
Woodland Preserve, located at the corner of Deerfield and Saunders Roads, was an example of the effects of unchecked invasive plant species on local protected woodlands with the invasive buckthorn nearly taking over the property. Ecological restoration of Woodland Preserve was completed in 2013 along with a shelter containing educational placards describing the project. The purpose of the ecological restoration is to showcase management strategies that restore woodland ecosystems and to provide recommendations in which residents can replicate the restoration on their own property by using the Village’s Ecological Cost Share Programs.