Success! Efforts to Save Bell Bowl Prairie have TEMPORARILY halted construction - near Rockford, IL.

NEWS UPDATE 10/28:  Natural Land Institute is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached through the US District Court with the Greater Rockford Airport Authority, Board of Commissioners and Michael P. Dunn the Executive Director to TEMPORARILY halt development and construction including grading, earthmoving, or other construction activity that would damage or destroy any and all portion of Bell Bowl Prairie until MARCH 1, 2022. (Case Number 3:21-cv-50410)

This means that a Temporary Restraining Order is no longer needed at the moment and NLI agrees to withdraw its Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction not forfeiting its ability to file at a later date. Therefore there will be no hearing Friday morning October 29th . This halt to construction activity until March 1, 2022 will allow us time to work with the Airport Authority to explore alternative design concepts that protect the prairie and the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

HOWEVER, this timeframe does not allow time to determine if the bee is nesting on the prairie, which must be done in the summer. ADDITIONALLY, the media release by the Rockford Airport today ONLY references removing a detention basin from the design, and makes no mention of the planned roadway going through the highest quality part of the prairie, or re-siting the proposed building. Natural Land Institute will continue to pursue legal remedies to protect the remaining prairie and make sure we have access to monitor the prairie.

 Natural Land Institute is grateful to all its partners and the grassroots activists for making this construction delay possible.

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Background from Wikipedia and photo credit: Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) at Bell Bowl Prairie:

Bell Bowl Prairie is a remnant dry gravel prairie located on public land near Rockford, IL. It is considered a Category I Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site due to its high quality natural community of native flora and fauna. Assessed in 2018, 5 acres of the approximately 22-acre prairie were considered high quality and 4.2 acres were considered "moderate quality". 


In 2021, most of the prairie is planned to be demolished as part of the Chicago Rockford International Airport's expansion plans. Environmental organizations, ecologists, and conservationists are working to stop construction within the prairie area. They argue that the Greater Rockford Airport Authority, a public agency, can redesign the expansion plan without impacting the high quality prairie. According to the airport, the prairie is "one of the best-preserved prairies in northern Illinois – a glimpse of the Rockford area prior to colonization".


Action Alert sent to WNPJ by

*Echo Valley Hope

Contact: Dena Eakles
Address: E14604 Cty Rd F, Ontario, WI 54651
Phone: 608-337-4578