Exelon Corporation

Hitt's Siding Prairie

Wilmington, Illinois, United States

Certified through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
Hitt's Siding Prairie
Grassland

About the Program
Exelon Corporation’s subsidiary ComEd manages the conservation program at Hitt's Siding Prairie, which is adjacent to the Hitt’s Siding Prairie Nature Preserve, a 256-acre prairie preserve, near Chicago, Illinois. The habitat actively managed is a pollinator grassland prairie. Conservation objectives includes maintaining high quality natural areas and high biodiversity, coordinating site management efforts with Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, identifying and responding to new or worsening threats to the restored habitats, meeting ComEd's prairie standards in the Prairie Standardization Plan, providing a suitable corridor for prairie restoration, and meeting the University of IL-Chicago's ROW pollinator habitat. Employees are engaged in the project, as well as partners through Stantec, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The projects align with Exelon and ComEd’s corporate commitments, and Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, and Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group led by the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Practices and Impacts

  • The team targets herbicide applications are conducted to target common reed grass, reed canary grass, bull thistle, and woody species to maintain the prairie habitat.
  • Monitoring of the site is done at least once annually to assess outcomes of previous management and assess new and ongoing threats.
  • Monitoring shows use by different types of bees, butterflies, wasps, and beetles. Due to the high plant diversity there is an abundance of pollen and nectar sources throughout the growing season. Monarchs and several species of milkweed were observed in 2019.
  • Species lists are entered into FQA software to derive floristic metrics for tracking year-to-year changes in plant community composition and quality. The metrics that are tracked include native species richness, mean coefficient of conservation values (mean C), and Floristic Quality Index (FQI).
  • Monitoring results shows the site continues to be approximately 95% vegetated with an estimated 75% cover by native plant species.
  • The University of Illinois-Chicago Tier 3 Rights-of-Way as Habitat Pollinator Scorecard provides a qualitative rating of habitat quality and plant composition based on the Team’s site survey.  The site scored high with 117 total points; scores of 20 or more are considered robust rights-of-way pollinator habitat.
  • Future actions planned include use of prescribed fire, documenting plants and general pollinator usage by conducting annual site monitoring, assessing the site at the onset of each management visit to confirm the work plan or to adjust the work plan based on new urgent site needs and maintaining the site as pollinator habitat.

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