In the late 1990s, the Village of Riverwoods began encouraging residents to be good stewards of their properties through Ecological Cost-Share Programs. The goal is to improve property values by caring for our unique woodlands. In 2016, the Village updated these programs to make them more systematic and easier to understand and implement. The most recent updates were made on March 1, 2018. There is a program available to suit every property type.

Ecological Consultation

An Ecological Consultation is required as a gateway first step to apply for the Village Ecological 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 of which Cost-Share Programs the resident is eligible for. Residents learn what will grow best on their property and how to care for it.   A Program Eligibility Map/Report is provided to the resident which summarizes the consultation, outlines all Cost Share Programs eligible to the resident, and how to implement the work. Next, the resident hires a “Certified” contractor to implement the work and gets reimbursed by the Village after the work is complete. All programs are a 50/50 cost share with a Village reimbursement maximum of $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the program.

• The Ecological Consultation cost to the resident is $75.
• Request a Village Ecologist consultation by filling out the Cost-Share Program request form. Please include a $75 payment and submit to Village Hall. The Village Ecologist will contact you to schedule a residential visit.
• Ecological Consultations can be conducted year round but are best done from April through November.

The Programs

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.

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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.

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Garlic Mustard Removal Program

This program encourages residents to remove invasive garlic mustard from their property to allow native woodland understory species to thrive.

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Prescribed Burn Program

The Prescibed 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 by removing duff, replenishing the soil with nutrients, and by allowing native plants to thrive.

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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.

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Native Seeding 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.

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Rain Garden Program

The Rain Garden Program encourages residents to install rain gardens on private property to “micromanage” 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.

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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!


How do I find a contractor?

The Village sponsored a Cost Share Program-Contractor Certification Training Seminar on February 28, 2018. All contractors that attended this seminar are considered certified and qualified to implement the cost share programs. You must use one of the certified contractors to do any work under the Village’s Cost Share Program.

Contractors for Ecological Cost-Share Programs

What are the various Ecological Cost-share Programs the Village offers?

The Village of Riverwoods offers the following programs as a cost share up to a maximum amount:
• Ecological Consultation (40/60 (Village) cost share; cost to resident is $75)
• Canopy & Subcanopy Tree Thinning (50/50 cost share up to $4,000)
• Invasive Shrub Removal Program (50/50 cost share up to $4,000)
• Garlic Mustard Removal Program (50/50 cost share up to $2,000)
• Native Tree & Shrub Planting Program (50/50 cost share up to $2,000)
• Rain Gardens (50/50 cost share up to $4,000)
• Prescribed Burning (50/50 cost share up to $2,000)
• Native Seeding & Planting (50/50 cost share up to $2,000)

Who is eligible to participate?

All Village residents, businesses, & associations are eligible to participate in the Cost-Share Program.

How are the funds distributed?

The program requirements are authorized by “An Ordinance Providing for Ecological Cost-Share Programs in the Village of Riverwoods” and are subject to such ordinance, as from time to time amended. The Village Board determines the amount of cost-share funds available each year for the programs, and the funds are available to residents on a first-come, first-served basis. The most recent update was made on March 1, 2018.

When do I receive the cost-share fund reimbursement?

Before you receive the cost-share reimbursement, you must pay all contractors and provide the Village with copies of all paid invoices and the Village Ecologist must review and approve all completed work. Once the Village has received copies of the paid invoices and the completed work has been reviewed and approved by the Village Ecologist, the reimbursement request is forwarded to the Village Board for approval with other payables. Payables are reviewed by the Village Board at the last meeting of every month. Reimbursement for each program varies but can generally be expected in one to three months following the approval of work by the Village Ecologist.

Where can I find native trees, shrubs, plants, and seed on the approved lists?

Many nurseries in the area sell native trees and shrubs from the Riverwoods approved lists. Native seed and plant plugs can be obtained from Native Plant Nurseries.

Can I plant trees other than what is on the planting list?

In order to be eligible to participate in the Native Tree & Shrub Planting Cost-Share Program, you must plant only those species on the approved planting lists and as approved by the Village Ecologist. The approved trees and shrubs have been selected because they are native species suited to the woodland ecology of the Village.

Which of these programs is an permit issued for?

If you are participating in the Cost-Share Programs you receive a general “Ecological Restoration Permit” once your application is approved. This permit specifies which type of work you will be doing, i.e. garlic mustard removal, invasive shrub removal, canopy & subcanopy tree thinning, etc. Note: All other tree and shrub removal work not associated with a Cost-Share Program requires either a “Tree Removal Permit” or “Woodland Removal Permit”.

Why does the Invasive Shrub Removal Program require one re-sprout treatment?

Invasive shrubs tend to re-sprout from the base of the plant after being cut down. A second herbicide treatment to re-sprouts helps increase mortality.

If I participate in one program can I participate in others?

This will depend on the assessment provided by the Village Ecologist during the Ecologist Consultation which is required prior to being approved for participation in any Village Cost-share Program with exception of the Annual Plant Sale. You can participate in any program approved by the Village Ecologist. The intent of these programs is to assist residents with the initial work of getting invasive species under control, getting native species established, etc., and the Village would like as many residents to be able to participate as possible. In some cases, a program can be applied for in multiple fiscal years (January 1 of each year).

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Notification System

The Village of Riverwoods utilizes Blackboard Connect service for emergency resident notification side-by-side with the Village non-emergency resident email database. As a resident or business you can opt-in to emergency messages, non-emergency messages or both.

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