North America
Lincoln, North, Illinois
Quarry Life Award 2014

Biodiversity, Restoration, and Educational Trails on a Reclaimed Rock Quarry

Education and raising awareness
Scientific research

During the 1800s, North American grasslands were often converted to agricultural croplands, often leaving only small prairie remnants around the edges of farm fields. Where quarrying occurs as an anthropogenic activity, the landscape, environment, and biodiversity of the site are significantly impacted. Traditionally, the non-coal mining industry in Illinois, U.S.A., has completed reclamation requirements that are limited to developing permanent cover with little consideration for the quality of the vegetation or the potential for additional functions from the site. These lands are typically not returned to previous uses due to poor soil structure and fertility and are maintained as reclaimed land or used for recreation. The Lincoln Quarry site provides a great opportunity for enhancing biodiversity using a prairie restoration strategy, as well as providing an educational setting. The objectives of this study are to understand plant communities at Lincoln Quarry by comparing reclamation plant species sown at different times with spontaneously developed plant succession and to provide educational walking trails that allow visitors to experience different plant communities.