Administered by the USDA Forest Service, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie consists of 20,000 acres that were once prime prairie. In 1996, the former site of the Joliet Ammunition plant and heavy agricultural use was transferred to the Forest Service from the Department of Defense. From then on efforts have been in place to restore the land to its once former greatness.
The National Forest Foundation is working with the Forest Service to fund the pricey restoration project. Already this is one of the state’s best examples of prairies and continues to improve every year.
In 2015 a herd of 27 bison were introduced to establish a vital piece of this diverse ecosystem.
The cost of this restoration effort: to remove buildings, roads and rails, restore native plants, build fences, add trails, etc. could easily exceed $200 million. Conservation estimates have the prairie restoration portion costing $4,500 to $5,500 an acre. [source]