In 2015, IDNR prioritized a handful of near-term, “doable and potentially fundable” projects for Wm. Powers. The Park Enhancement Recommendations Plan is one of those priority projects and will be complete in 2016. Others include:
This survey will provide specifics about the depth and other submerged terrain features of Wolf Lake in Illinois. The information will be used to help make educated ecological management decisions about Wolf Lake, help decide if a hemi marsh (see below) is a feasible project, and provide better data to fishermen on where certain species may be found. The project will be completed in 2016.
Boat Ramp Repairs
The boat ramps, one of the park’s assets most valued by the public, are in serious need of repair. The full scope of necessary work is underfunded at this time. However, some work could be deferred to future years so other aspects of the project would be financially feasible in 2017.
Hemi marshes (a type of wetland) generally feature shallow open water and dense vegetation both below and emerging above the water surface. Such habitat is rapidly disappearing from the area due to changes in surface and groundwater connections as well as urban land development and land use. Creating a hemi marsh at Wm. Powers would attract more water fowl and provide critically-needed habitat for migratory birds. Once the bathymetric survey is complete, IDNR will determine if a hemi marsh is possible at Wm. Powers and where on the site it could be located.
William Powers Portion of the Bi-State Wolf Lake Trail
A paved trail going directly through the park will provide a strategic link between the City of Hammond (Indiana), City of Chicago, and Forest Preserves of Cook County trail systems, making both Wm. Powers and the broader area more accessible and enjoyable by foot, bicycle, and for people with mobility challenges. In 2016, IDNR aims to begin to work towards securing funding for the project.
Visitor Center Courtyard Improvements
The Visitor Center courtyard is filled with pieces of slag and otherwise less than hospitable for many types of potential uses. Modest improvements to the courtyard such as replacing the popcorn slag with gravel, adding planters, or adding benches will create a welcoming outdoor gathering space for schools and other community groups. (Note: Actual improvements for 2016 and 2017 will be contingent on available funding.)