Working to restore and care for natural habitat along the North Shore Channel


Stopover habitat for migratory birds

As we work to increase native habitat in Evanston's public lands, we are following landscaping principles that take into account the timing of migratory birds' needs for food and shelter. Plantings are layered—including tall trees, understory trees and shrubs, and wildflowers (forbs).  This post by bird conservation expert Judy Pollock explains some of the planning principles we are following. The Civic Center Demonstration Garden offers ideas for plants to consider.

The Evanston North Shore Bird Club offers bird walks and talks to help you learn more about the birds of Evanston. You can also report local sightings through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird. Several of the city's habitat areas are eBird "ebird hot spots."

Illustration is by landscape architect Heidi Natura of Living Habitats, a Chicago-based landscape design firm.

The North Shore Channel

The North Shore Channel was was built in 1907–10 to flush water from Lake Michigan into the polluted North Branch of the Chicago River and south down the Sanitary and Ship Canal. It followed the course of earlier ditches that had drained the wet prairie and marshy woodlands once found in this area. Earlier Evanstonians also saw the potential for what some called a "channel lands greenbelt." Over the years, they created Canal Shores golf course (1919), the Ladd Arboretum (1960), and a series of parks along the channel's east side (starting in 1939). In 2011, the Illinois Coastal Management program identified the channel banks as “a critical corridor for wildlife on Chicago’s North Shore.” Learn more from Friends of the Chicago River and from these Evanston authors:

Libby Hill. The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History (2000)

Richard Lanyon. Building the Canal to Save Chicago (2012) and Draining Chicago: The Early City and the North Area (2016)