Crystal Lake Park District Announces Upcoming Restoration Work in Sterne’s Woods and Fen

Sun November 3, 2019


In 2014 the Crystal Lake Park District began a multi-phase project to restore the hydrology of Sterne’s Fen.  The purpose of this letter is to inform you about another phase of restoration that will take place early in 2020.


Sterne’s Fen Nature Preserve is dependent upon an uninterrupted and unaltered flow of groundwater.  Currently, a series of invasive trees located primarily along the toe of the slopes adjacent to the walking path are intercepting that groundwater flow.  It has been estimated that through transpiration each large tree wicks away approximately 700 gallons of groundwater daily.  The goal of this project is to remove the trees that are responsible for this great loss of groundwater.  The project is being funded through the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County via a stewardship grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.


Four areas have been identified for removal and are ranked by priority.  The exact scope of the project will be determined once bids are received for the tree removal. 


This project will be started once the ground is well frozen in order to lessen disturbance in the removal areas.  It is anticipated that the work will take place in January or February of 2020. 


This project has received the approval of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the Crystal Lake Park District.  Prior restoration projects at Sterne’s Woods and Fen have yielded very positive results in a very short amount of time.  Just recently, the reintroduction of sunlight to the soil has allowed a dormant bank of native seeds to flourish during the 2019 growing season. 


Updates will be posted on the Crystal Lake Park District website Project Update page at  As always, feel free to contact the park district with questions, Ann Viger, Director of Park Development & Interpretive Services,, 815-459-0680, ext. 4205.