Illinois Prairie Restoration at Rock Springs Conservation Area
The prairie is part of Illinois’ heritage, past and future. It provides protection and food for many birds, animals, and insects that depend on the prairie as a life source. In addition, it prevents erosion, enriches the soil, and beautifies the landscape of Illinois.
Originally the site was forested then converted into farmland in the early 1800’s. In 1979 Rock Springs Conservation Area started creating a prairie restoration on the site of the abandoned field. The methods used for establishment were planting and drilling seed with a native grass drill. The district burns the prairie in the spring annually to biennially.
Rock Springs Conservation Area was acquired in 1969 by Macon County Conservation District. Prairie restorations, totaling ca. 26 acres, were established on former farmland starting in 1979. Several tracts were developed as prairie restorations of different ages. No single species was dominant on all four tracts (1979, 1981, 1983, 1986), although grasses (switch grass, indian grass, little bluestem, prairie dropseed, and big bluestem) were dominant or codominant on one or more sites.