Welcome to the July-August 2010 J.P.A.C Newsletter, organ of Jackson Park Advisory Council Chicago

Published by Jackson Park Advisory Council, a recognized advisory council to the Chicago Park District.

Editor Gary M. Ossewaarde

Sited in http://www.hydepark.org, website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference

Jackson Park/JPAC home. hydepark.org Parks home. hydepark.org home



June 14 minutes; announcements

August Frontpage with timely announcements



Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting minutes June 14 2010

Appended note for August 2010 Newsletter.

Notice. The Secretary regrets an omission from the previously published [July Newsletter] June 2010 draft minutes and amends them as follows: “Fran Vandervoort circulated her letter of resignation as vice president and nature committee co-chair, effective July 11.” The council is always sad to see an officer leave, but we are especially thankful and grateful for Fran’s dedicated and important service to Jackson Park and the council, and we look forward to her continued participation.


Fran Vandervoort opened the meeting at 7:40 p.m., President Ross Petersen being unable to attend.

A quorum was present. BIG Baseball communicated they will come and report as soon as their plan is ready.

Paul Grabowski, site steward for the 63rd Street Beach dune and seasonal swale construction gave a PowerPoint presentation and took questions. Paul is a graduate student in ecology at University of Chicago who has done extensive field work in the Indiana Dunes, known for tremendous variability of climate and of microclimates within a few feet and for its variety of plant life that is both very hardy and adaptable, holding up well to frequent shifting of sand and landforms.

The project funded and begun last year on the 63rd Street peninsula by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Park District included two areas of interest to the study and reconstruction of dune land habitats. Also built: a habitat for fish at the pier and other improvements such as a picnic area to the south.
The relevant dune sectors were a thicket on the east side of the peninsula--overgrown with invasives and full of garbage, and a dune on the west side that notoriously sheds sand down the underpass of Lake Shore Drive.

In the project, part of the dune was lowered near the beach to create a seasonally water-filled swale that would be planted with emergent wetland species that would gradually create a stable habitat. Its succession and success is being studied in comparison with similar configurations in the Indiana Dunes. The interior side of the dune closer to the Drive and underpass were planted with 9,000 “tillers” of marram grass last fall. This “pioneer” grass is a hardy stabilizer that spreads via huge rhizomes through the sand. 90 percent of the plantings survived, appear to be reducing sand drift, and are sheltering other plant type arrivals.
The water level rises and falls in the swale, which was planted this spring with plants from within 300 miles by the Army Corps. At some point cottonwood seedlings will have to be thinned out—natural controls have disappeared. Invasive species will be pruned. Changing water levels and disturbance will also be watched.

A next stage will include introduction of switch grass, a succession plant with good anti-erosion qualities that will replace marram grass, which dies or thins out of its own success as the sand stops blowing. Switch grass is found also in the Dunes (and is widespread throughout the States and holds potential as a bio-fuel).
In the east thicket, cottonwoods are being taken out and replaced with dune-specific grasses and wildflowers, most of which are thriving.

Considerable worry was expressed about protecting the new plantings during, for example, the 4th of July fireworks off 59th/63rd where large crowds are expected. There will be 6 ft chain-link fencing (some noted that access could be gained into the east thicket via a concrete wall.) Additional security will be provided. JPAC also had suggested more signage. Also re the fireworks: access via 67th St. and Jeffery will be closed. Parking will not be allowed at 63rd beach. Shuttle buses will be provided.

In other nature area news, Fran Vandervoort reported a June 9 planning walk-through hosted by the park district on Wooded Island. Phased and staged removal of invasives has been done by Aramark, Care of Trees, and volunteers. Shrubs were planted. She commended the ecology and bird viewing opportunities in both Wooded Island and Washington Park.

Park and Program. Park Supervisor William Tillis said he expects 100 kids for football and cheerleading. Day camp expects over 200. Jackson Park has one of the more active and sought out programs. Ken Chaney performed jazz to increasing audiences at the seniors’ exercise program. The jazz will resume in the fall.

Moved by Esther Schechter and seconded by Dwight Powell to skip the July meeting. Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Gary M. Ossewaarde, Secretary


Volunteer Workdays- July 10, 24, August 14, 28, September 11, 25, October 9, 23, November 13? Help establish and maintain a healthy habitat on Wooded Island and other parts of the natural area. 10 am-1 pm. Meet at Darrow Bridge south of Museum of Science and Industry. Ross Petersen, 773 486-0505.

Park District South Region Area 3 preliminary budget hearing. Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S. Russell, Wednesday, July 21, 6 pm (sign up starts at 6 pm.)