The Campaign for North Pond

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A Pond in Need


The North Pond Nature Sanctuary comprises 36 acres of central Lincoln Park – 9 acres of the pond itself and 27 acres of surrounding natural areas and parkland. The site is situated on the Lake Michigan migratory flyway and is used as a habitat for nearly 220 stop-over and resident bird species. The site is also home to over a dozen endangered or threatened Illinois avian, amphibian, and reptile species. The pond and its surroundings are at a tipping point and need significant ecological restoration. The shoreline is degraded and continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Shallow water depth and warming temperatures are shrinking habitat for fish, amphibians, and wading birds. Algal blooms starve out aquatic organisms. Eroding, compacted shorelines allow runoff pollution and litter to enter the pond. Large resident flocks of Canada Geese are attracted to the bare shoreline and exacerbate the pond’s nutrient problems. The pond has a negative water balance and requires annual replenishment to maintain consistent levels, with municipal water serving as the primary source.

The Plan

The restoration and long-term stewardship of North Pond involves five key components:


Complete 3 studies needed to develop the final restoration master plan: topographic and boundary study, tree inventory, and detailed pond bottom and sediment analysis. These studies will add important data to already-completed studies including soil analysis, water quality, water balance/pond hydrology, and initial depth and sediment studies. Several public meetings will be conducted to seek public input and comments to be integrated into the final restoration master plan.

NPC knowledge


Deepen the pond to its historic depth of 7’-8′ (or potentially deeper) to increase water circulation and oxygen turn-over, decrease water temperature, improve aquatic habitat, and reduce algae growth.

dredge NPC


Grade and stabilize the pond edge to decrease erosion and pollution run-off into the pond while providing additional public gathering/engagement opportunities around the pond.



Increase amount and quality of natural areas surrounding the pond to foster greater habitat and species diversity, model natural infrastructure techniques, and provide public engagement/education opportunities with nature. This includes doubling the size of the current West Prairie, planting hundreds of new native trees, and constructing a sedge meadow on the pond’s north end to capture and filter storm water from nearby parkland. This will provide an additional water source to the pond to reduce or eliminate its reliance on municipal water.

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North Pond’s restoration is directly dependent on community support and involvement, with 100% of project funding coming from private donors. While the Chicago Park District is our key partner in this project and will provide direct program support and guidance, no District funds will be contributed given a limited capital budget and other projects throughout the city. Without contributions from the community, North Pond’s restoration won’t be possible. Community support will be vital to the pond’s long-term stewardship and care. Our restoration efforts will focus on developing ongoing, long-term community commitment to North Pond and its surroundings through stewardship, awareness, and educational programs.

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Walk the Pond_8 copy

Prospective Timeline

2019 – Completion and opening of Sunshine Playscape/West Prairie expansion; launch initial phases of fundraising/awareness campaign; host initial family/community engagement programs.

2020 – Complete final studies; host public meetings; finalize and publish North Pond Master Plan; finalize dredge/project permitting; continue engagement/fundraising campaign; additional family/community engagement programs.

2021 – Begin and complete dredge; begin edge stabilization and plantings; begin study and initial sedge meadow site work; continue engagement/fundraising campaign; continue family/community engagement programs.

2022 – Continue and complete edge work and plantings; sedge meadow installation and planting; construction of public engagement spaces; continue engagement/fundraising campaign; continue family/community engagement programs focusing on pond’s long-term stewardship and care.

2023 – Complete sedge meadow and other plantings; celebrate project completion!

Prospective Budget

PHASE 1 – Pond and Edge

Demolition and Site Prep/Restoration – $950,000
Infrastructure/Utilities – $300,000
Dredge – $3,300,000
Native Plants/Trees – $551,438
Surveys and Studies – $224,000 (2020 Minimum Goal)
Design and Development – 393,382
Permitting and Construction Administration – $377,955
Mobilization – $510,143
Contingency – $510,143

Phase 1 Total                                                    $7,117,061


Surrounding Trails and Features                       TBD
Long-term Stewardship/Management            TBD

Lincoln Park Conservancy about us
North Pond Coneflowe.Butterflies - Upper Section 2 of 2 (Jeff Liem)

The Pledge

We need you to make North Pond’s restoration possible! We ask you to pledge your support for North Pond through the following steps and to share your commitment with others to garner their interest and support:

Commit your financial support of North Pond’s restoration today. Immediate funding is needed to finish the Knowledge phase in early 2020 and begin the Dredge in mid-2020. All donations are vital at any level and multi-year pledges ensure the timeline progresses as planned. Don’t forget corporate matching and retirement plan minimum distribution requirements that can extend your gift while providing potential tax benefits to you.

Contact us to set up a 1-on-1 meeting to learn more about the project and how you can help North Pond.
(773) 883-PARK (7275)

Host a meeting of neighbors or friends in your home, building, or community gathering space. We need you to introduce us to more individuals who can help us to help North Pond.

Our volunteer stewards and corporate/civic volunteer work groups are our biggest asset in helping North Pond. We need you and many others to help steward North Pond. Contact us to volunteer or learn more.

Share your commitment to North Pond with others. We need you to lend your voice to connect others to the cause. Use the hashtag #DigDeepForNorthPond on your favorite social media platform to share your pledge, share your commitment with local elected officials or civic groups, or simply tell a friend or neighbor about why you’re digging deep for North Pond! Thank you for helping us to help North Pond!


A variety of files on the Campaign for North Pond are available for download and printing for personal use or to help spread the word about the Campaign!

Monarch on Milkweed - Title Background Biodiversity Program (Liem)

Thank you to all our North Pond Campaign Donors!


Nicole Allegretti
Linda and John Baker
Peter and Betsy Barrett
Gail Colvin
Tom Dickson and Kris Buckles
Gayle and Chip Everest
United Way
Camillo and Arlene Ghiron
John and Deb Gross
Danielle and James Hoeg
 John & Carol Walter Family Foundation
Julie Kanter
Rick and Katrina Kash
Diane Kulik
Virginia and Frederick Langrehr
Scott Manzler
Todd and Martha Martin
Michael Martineau
Todd Maxwell
Kathryn Niedner
Susan Otterbeck
John Pfeiffer
George Posner
Clayton Root
Kevin Ryan and Ella Yung
John Salvino
Craig and Cathy Smiddy
Steven and Catherine Jacob Family Foundation
Gerald Talsky
 The Donnelley Foundation
 Tom Stringer Design Partners
 VML Foundation Fund
Mark Zampardo
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