The push to save Bell Bowl Prairie receives a boost

The Natural Land Institute issues a lawsuit against Chicago Rockford International Airport
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Another sigh of relief, at least temporarily, for conservationists pushing to save the last remaining prairie in Illinois as an ongoing consultation has halted proceedings. The plan is to pave a roadway that runs across the bell bowl prairie, which will expand Chicago Rockford airport’s need for cargo transportation, but conservationists worry this will worsen habitat loss and kill endangered species, like the rusty patch bumblebee which frequents this land. Leaders at the airport say they’re working with the federal aviation administration, the department of natural resources, and the fish and wildlife services to see if this project will actually harm the environment. However, they don’t have any plan B, other than to sit and wait until the consultation into the land is complete.

“That roadway has a very narrow corridor which it can go, and all within that corridor crosses the prairie,” said Zack Oakley, Deputy Director at Chicago Rockford International Airport. “There’s not really a way to place that road without affecting the prairie.”

Until these organizations reach a decision the airport says it will limit access to the prairie to guarantee its preservation.

To learn more about the prairie you can click here.

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