The Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is pleased to announce that restoration work is slated to begin this spring on a 50-acre parcel owned by Openlands located in the Queen Anne Core of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. This restoration work is made possible by a Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). NFWF is this Nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker that works with both public and private sectors to protect and restore our Nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats for current and future generations.

The $48 thousand grant will be used to restore a 26-acre wetland basin and convert 24 acres of cropland back to prairie with support from Openlands, local conservation agencies, local school groups, and volunteers with Friends of Hackmatack NWR. This project will enhance or provide habitat for a suite of grassland and wetland plants and wildlife.

Plans for early this year include conducting a controlled burn of the wetland basin, control of invasive species, and planting a temporary cover crop in what was former cropfield. Funds from this grant will also be used to purchase prairie seed to convert cornfield into prairie.

Look for opportunities on our website or in press releases to volunteer and assist the Friends in restoring this land. Opportunities to assist will include control of invasive species and collection of prairie seed to be used in the restoration effort.

map of location of cropland to be converted with NFWF grant

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is dedicated to sustaining, restoring, and enhancing the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. Read more about this organization on their website:


Update: April 11, 2024

MCCD employees and Friends of Hackmatack NWR volunteers conducted a controlled burn at the Otrebla property on April 10, 2024. This parcel is currently owned by Openlands, and is located within the Queen Anne Prairie Core of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

controlled burn at Openlands, Otrebla Parcel

The crew burned a large part of the southern wetland basin, excluding the parts holding standing water. For this particular burn, the goal was to remove invasive woody and herbaceous species.

Burning invasive species in south wetland basin of Otrebla Parcel. Controlled burn at Openlands, the Otrebla Parcel.

controlled burn of phragmites
Phragmites casting a large flame during the controlled burn of invasive species.

Prior to conducting the controlled burn, Openlands secured the necessary permit from IEPA and that an approved Controlled Burn Plan had been prepared for the site and was conducted under the leadership of a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager recognized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

MCCD employees and Friends of Hackmatack NWR VolunteersThanks to the hard-working crew of MCCD employees and Friends of Hackmatack NWR volunteers!

At the request of NFWF, the Friends of Hackmatack NWR report the following: “The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors (the Friends) and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or the policies of the U.S. Government or the NFWF and its funding sources. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government, or the NFWF or its funding sources.”

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