O'Hare Wetlands Restoration


The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is partnering with Openlands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Forest Preserve Districts of Cook, Will and DuPage counties, the Chicago Park District, Land & Water Resources, Inc., the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, the Wetlands Initiative and others to restore and enhance wetlands in the Chicagoland region.

Why Restore Wetlands?

Restoring wetlands in the Chicagoland region will improve local water quality, absorb carbon dioxide, provide valuable habitat for wildlife, and help connect people with nature. The O'Hare Modernization Program necessitated the replacement of wetlands at O'Hare that were small, isolated and of poor ecological value. The CDA is committed to balancing the inevitable growth of the region with the responsibility we share to protect and care for our open spaces and natural resources for generations to come.

In working with our partners, the CDA's goal is to restore and enhance nearly three times the wetland area requiring replacement at six locations throughout the region. These sites connect to existing wetlands and will enhance their size, quality and ecological function, multiplying the benefits of the wetlands restoration program several times over.

The six wetland mitigation sites include:

  1. Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie in Will County
  2. Tinley Creek Forest Preserve in Cook County
  3. Hadley Valley Preserve in Joliet
  4. Messenger Woods Nature Preserve in Homer Township
  5. Deer Grove Forest Preserve - East in Palatine
  6. Marian R. Byrnes Park in the City of Chicago​