Restoration on the 10.5 acre Edwards Prairie and Savanna site was initiated in 1998 on what had been agricultural land abandoned in the late 1970’s. For the first ten years invading non-oak species of trees and shrubs were removed and the site periodically mowed to maintain the steep slopes in protective herbaceous ground cover. Scattered young black oak trees were left growing on the site in order to provide partially shaded savanna conditions in the future. In 2008 a grove of dense black oak trees on the west edge was thinned in order to release scattered larger-crowned black oak, and provide sunlight to a future herbaceous ground layer of native species. During the late summer of 2015 the herbaceous cover was mowed. During the summer of 2014, it was treated with 2 applications of herbicide.  The herbaceous vegetation control was funded by the IDNR Div. of Fish and Wildlife’s Game Bird Habitat Development Program. The expectation is that herbicide control will be applied again in 2016, with planting of native prairie and semi-shade tolerant savanna species in 2017.

Pre-treatment conditions of autumn olive and invading woody vegetation on Edwards old-field site (April 1998)

West edge of Edwards Prairie & Savanna site, looking north with the future Luckey Prairie site on the left.  Before thinning black oak stand (Oct. 2008)

Remaining herbaceous cover mowed (late summer 2014) and re-growing for first herbicide application treatment (April 2015)

Preparation for second herbicide treatment of remaining herbaceous vegetation (July 2015)