March 13, 2013
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County released plans Monday for a trail and bike path in Orland Grasslands, but some environmentalists say the project could jeopardize the recovery of a fragile ecosystem by fragmenting land used by migratory birds.
Though site volunteers said they felt their concerns were largely acknowledged by the District’s design team, they remain apprehensive about the trail’s southeast segment, which bows around the west side of a large pond that fronts onto
“Every single inch matters,” said Pat Hayes, Orland Grasslands’ site steward. “What we’re dealing with is not just a pretty place. This is sustenance for ecosystems and species that have nowhere else to go.”
A letter from the Bird Conservation Network cited several bird species known to nest in the Grasslands — Henslow’s Sparrow, Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow and Bobolink — that could be affected, as well as shorebird species known to stopover on the site during their migration. Though small, a path separating the pond from the Grasslands’ interior could deter birds and turtles from critical mud flats along the water’s edge.
Continued : http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/new-orland-grasslands-trail-stirs-environmental-concerns-106058