Well done, Public Works!
Thank you for . The vast majority of those trees were European Buckthorns. To most people, a tree is a tree. What they don’t realize is that buckthorn, the most abundant tree in our region, causes significant harm to our habitats and waterways.
Buckthorn was introduced to the Midwest as a “living fence” to control livestock and later as a screen plant for landscaping. Unfortunately, it does not stay put where it is planted. It escapes and invades woodlands, wetlands and prairies. It also forms dense stands along river banks.
Buckthorn provides poor quality food and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Worse, it out-competes native plants and poisons the soil with excessive nitrogen from its leaves, eventually killing off everything else trying to grow underneath it. Bare soil is ripe for erosion, which is exactly what happens along many of our local creeks, when eroded stream banks, packed with buckthorn, become totally bare of other vegetation.
Sediments from erosion foul our local streams and kill aquatic life. In addition, many of our local streams have been found to contain high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Sunlight is a key to disinfecting and purifying polluted waters. Streams shaded by excessive buckthorns do not allow sunlight to reach the water to work its healing magic.
As an environmentalist who founded the Buffalo Grove Environmental Action Team and the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership, I am sympathetic to neighbors who notice when trees are removed. We are in the middle of an epidemic of Emerald Ash Borer beetles, which now infects all of the ash trees in our parkways. No one wants to lose additional valuable trees. However, the buckthorn removal work is beneficial to the health of the stream and the environment. It is also long overdue in many other areas of the Village.
If residents want to learn more about local water and habitat issues, there will be a public meeting of the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership on April 25 at Village Hall. Representatives of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and Illinois EPA will be present to provide information and listen to citizen concerns. Or come to the habitat restoration day at Rylko Park on April 28, sponsored by the BG Environmental Action Team. We will meet near the Fitness Center at 9 am.
Founder, BG Environmental Action Team, http://www.bgparkdistrict.org/in_environmental.htm
Founder, Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership, BuffaloCreekCleanWater.org