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Horseshoe Mound project flourishing with the help of District 2

If you are driving along U.S. 20 near Galena, you may notice updates to the Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

Over the past year and a half, the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation has been working to clear the hillside above U.S. 20 at the preserve to remove any undesirable trees and open the canopy to encourage more native herbaceous species.

With the project located along state right of way, it was the perfect opportunity for a partnership between IDOT’s District 2 and JDCF.

District 2 Operations Supervisor Craig Klepack and Field Engineer Dan Tobin helped coordinate communication between the survey crew of Roger Inboden, Lyle Eaton and Todd Hilliker. This process alone took several months to schedule, coordinate and mark, resulting in a technical rendering of the right of way with each tree and its size class mapped. By utilizing a large forestry contract in January, Services and Development Technician Derek Jones, Traffic Operations Inspection Technician Troy Ebenezer and Klepack were able to complete the project by assisting in the removal of more than 130 dead trees.

“Partnering with a great organization like JDCF shows IDOT’s commitment to expanding outside our comfort zone and assisting with external projects that will have long-lasting positive effects on our state for years to come,” Klepack said.

Now that the site has been cleared, native wildflowers and grasses will have the sunlight they need to flourish on the hillside. This site is an ongoing oak savanna restoration project that will have large, open grown bur oaks across the hillside with native wildflowers such as bergamot, shooting star and black-eyed Susans underneath them.

Trails transecting the preserve offer breathtaking views of the city of Galena, the Mississippi River and geological sites. Less than 10 minutes from downtown Galena, this is now an incredible site to learn more about the geological and cultural history of the area.