As anyone who visits our beautiful lakefront can testify, Loyola Park currently is experiencing wind erosion of the beach as a consequence of frequent storms and lack of ice cover over the previous winter months. This erosion also has caused a great deal of sand to blow onto the turf grass in the park itself.
In an effort to prevent this erosion and protect both the beach and the park, the Chicago Park Districtis asking for volunteers to help plant a strip of naturally occurring dune grass, commonly referred to as Marram grass.
This grass planting pilot project will take placeSaturday, November 10th, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again on Monday, November 12th (Veterans Day), 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., just east of the Loyola Park Fieldhouse, 1230 W. Greenleaf. Volunteers should meet near the playground adjacent to the beach.
The volunteers will be supervised by staff members from the Chicago Park District Natural Resources Department and plant the dune grass in a 15-feet-wide by 330-feet-long stretch of beach, just north of the fieldhouse and east of the baseball diamonds. The area will be fenced in with a non-intrusive see through fence for a year or two until the Marram grass establishes itself.
Volunteers also will plant dune grass in a second, smaller area just south of the washrooms. This area once was covered in turf grass, but now is all sand. In order to prevent the sand from further encroaching upon the adjacent parking lot, the Marram will be planted strategically, leaving pathways for pedestrians to access the washrooms.
Marram Grass is a deeply rooted beach grass, which occurs naturally along the entire coastline of Lake Michigan. It catches and holds blowing sand and stabilizes the system. The beach grass requires no mowing.
For more information about the project, please call the Chicago Park District Natural Resources Department at (312) 742-4702.