The City of Evanston has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund to create and enhance migratory bird habitat along the North Shore Channel in the Ladd Arboretum and four nearby Evanston parks. The area provides critical support for tens of thousands of birds that pass through the region annually.

The grant, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), will fund improvements to 3.75 acres of bird habitat along an 1,100-foot section of the North Shore Channel in the Ladd Arboretum, as well as add bird-friendly plantings of native shrubs, understory trees, and forbs in Twiggs Park, Harbert Park, Ingraham Park, and a fourth park to be determined. The project will run from through December 2018 and will be matched by $104,516 in City contributions and private funding.

Project areas will not only be enhanced to support migratory birds but also to increase the accessibility of the public spaces to the surrounding community. Enhancements will focus on improvement and rehabilitation of physical amenities along the channel, including the following:

• Upgrades to the Ladd Arboretum’s dock area and trail.

• Refurbishment of wildlife observation decks in Twiggs and Harbert Parks.

• Addition of an informational kiosk at the beginning of the refurbished trail.

• Creation of an Evanston Habitat Network stewardship group and Birding Trail website.

The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund is a public-private partnership working to restore the health, vitality, and accessibility of the waterways in the Chicago and Calumet region by supporting green stormwater infrastructure, habitat enhancement, and public-use improvements.

Administered by the NFWF, the Fund is supported in 2016 with contributions from many agencies. The City’s grant application was supported by Openlands, Evanston Environmental Association, Citizens’ Greener Evanston, the Bird Conservation Network, and Patricia Frank. Judy Pollock Consulting, LLC, Living Habitats, and the Evanston TreeKeepers also provided support in writing and submitting the City’s grant application.