Exelon Corporation

Buffalo Grove Prairie

Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States

Certified through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
Buffalo Grove Prairie
Grassland

About the Program
Exelon Corporation's Buffalo Prairie Grove project lies on the border of Lake County and Cook County, Illinois, and includes 10 acres of grassland dominated by native forbs, shrubs and grasses. Whereas sixty percent of Illinois, or about 22 million acres, was covered by prairies prior to widespread European settlement, only about 2,300 acres or less than one hundredth of one percent remain today due to widespread agriculture and urbanization. The prairie initiatives are part of ComEd's biodiversity management plan with the long-term commitment to conserve, restore, and enhance the environment through ecosystem management. To this end, ComEd integrates environmental concerns into planning, design, maintenance and/or business decisions that may impact the natural environment.

Practices and Impacts

  • The site is maintained by an active community volunteer group, the Buffalo Grove Prairie Guardians, an ecological restoration contractor hired by ComEd, and ComEd's Vegetation Management Department. ComEd also partners with the University of Illinois-Chicago to research usage of right-of-way habitat by birds and pollinators.
  • The site is managed for invasive plant species with chemical treatment, brush removal, and prescribed fire.
  • Monitoring of the site is performed annually for a list of plant species utilizing software to derive year-to-year changes in the plant community composition and calculate a Floristic Quality Index. The surveys follow established scientific protocol to ensure relevant and rigorous monitoring protocols that contribute unbiased data to inform future management steps.
  • Nearly 300 native plant species have been observed at the site since routine plant inventories began in 2003.
  • The team and its partners follow an internal Prairie Program by ComEd, the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, participate in the Habitat Working Group led by the University of Illinois-Chicago, and is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Power and Pollinators Group. They work to promote native plant diversity, grassland health, reduce invasive plant species, and conserve pollinator species.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHC INDEX IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY