Tallgrass Restoration
A Tallgrass LegacyFall News
Vol. 4 Issue 3
Greetings!Tallgrass logo

HOT, HOT, HOT!!! How hot was it? All you have to do is look at your lawn and/or gardens to know it was an unbelievably hot summer. The drought has hit far and near. Farmers are struggling to bring in a crop. GOOD NEWS: Fall started on September 22nd.  


Read "Tips to Keep your Garden Healthy During Hot Weather" to give you some help during this drought. Also, our LEED article might be of interest to you and may be something that Tallgrass can help you with. Don't forget to visit our website at

www.Tallgrassrestoration.comto view some of the other services Tallgrass offers and maybe we can help make your job easier.
Enjoy our newsletter and as always, send any comments, suggestions or thoughts to:


 - Your Friends at Tallgrass

P.S. We're always up to something interesting here at
Tallgrass. Friend Us! on Facebook to get regular updates.
Green button logo    



Kerry Ingredient

See how native plantings enhance corporate campuses...









Tallgrass employee, Doug DeWitt, enters artwork in Friends of Ryerson Woods visual art exhibition.





drought corn  


The year of 2012 has been one of extreme drought.   
allergy sufferer  Many plants and trees contribute to the misery of allergy sufferers. See if you can identify some of these culprits.



Allium cernuum...

Nodding Wild Onion


 Nodding wild onion is found in open woodlands, savannas and prairies. It has long, slender, grass-like stems with leaves that smell like onions or garlic when crushed......



Tracy and Tim  



Tracy Runice and Tim Thompson were united in Holy Matrimony on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012. 



More Articles and Links 
Some tips to help you prepare for your spring and summer planting/gardening...


 LEED emblem 

While most people know that LEED credit is available for green building practices, many do not know some of those green building practices include the use of native plantings...



Mike Tyler In an effort to give our readers a personal insight into Tallgrass, we are spotlighting a Tallgrass employee in each newsletter. This issue's employee is Mike Tyler.   


Daucus carota...

Queen Anne's Lace 

This lacy little flower, native to Europe and Southwest Asia, is now pervasive in disturbed sunny, open areas throughout the United States.



Looking for a recipe to use up some extra cucumbers?  Try these yummy Cucumber Dill Toasts..... 


Tallgrass Land Conservation is proud to announce that its first wetland mitigation bank, TALLGRASS LAND CONSERVATION - BASS CREEK WETLAND MITIGATION BANK, has been approved and will soon be up and running!








The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife and natural habitats...









You might have noticed while out driving that many corporations are eschewing the traditional corporate campuses -- mowed lawns dotted with a pond or two -- for more diverse, interesting and environmentally friendly native plantings. Numerous corporate clients have recognized the following benefits of native plantings:


 Kerry Ingredient 

  • Native plants save money. A recent study has demonstrated that over a 20 year period, the cost of maintaining a native site (a prairie or a wetland) is 75% less than the cost of maintaining non-native turf grasses.
  • Native plants do not require fertilizers. Huge amounts of fertilizers are used on lawns which run off into lakes and rivers causing excess algae growth. This depletes oxygen in our waters, harms aquatic life and interferes with recreational uses.
  • Native plants require less water than lawns. The modern lawn requires significant amounts of water to thrive. In urban areas, lawn irrigation represents between 30% - 60% of the water consumption. The deep root systems of many native Midwestern plants increase the soil's capacity to store water. Native plants can significantly reduce water runoff and, consequently, flooding.
  • Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife. Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food sources. Traditional lawns provide little or no habitat or food source to wildlife.
  • Native plantings do not require mowing, while lawns require frequent mowing. Gas powered garden tools emit 5% of the nation's air pollution. Native plants sequester, or remove, carbon from the air. Native plants create slices of wilderness. It has long been recognized that wilderness enriches our lives in a variety of ways. These slices of wilderness can create immeasurable benefits to employees, customers, visitors, and neighbors of a corporate campus.

Here is a snapshot of several of the corporate clients who have  turned to Tallgrass to install and maintain native plantings on their corporate campuses: 




Kettle Foods Kettle Foods



Kettle Foods is the maker of Kettle brand potato chips, located in Beloit, Wisconsin. It is committed to sustainability on a number of fronts.   

Tallgrass drill seeded five acres of native prairie and some no-mow turf grass in the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Tallgrass continued to maintain the property through 2010 to insure that the prairie matured with as little weed competition as possible by mowing, applying spot herbicide and burning.   

Now a mature prairie, the summer months show many shades of yellow, pink, and purple flowers of compass plant, yellow coneflower, spiderwort and purple prairie clover.  




Kerry Ingredients



 Kerry Ingredients supplies food and beverage ingredients and flavor products to customers around the world. Located opposite Hormel Foods' giant tower of Chili along interstate 39 in Beloit, Wisconsin, Kerry's corporate campus provides both travelers and its own employees a spectacular native display.

Tallgrass began working with Kerry in 2007 seeding and maintaining its initial 15 acre parcel. In 2008, Kerry expanded not only its facilities but also its native plantings. Calling on Tallgrass once again, Kerry remedied the disturbed soil with grading, weed eradication, and planting. In areas where displaced soil was piled and impeding natural water flow, the ground was graded and seeded. The two ponds on the property were cleaned of invasive plant species and planted with over 10,000 native plugs. Additionally, 44 acres were planted with native seed.

Today travelers through southern Wisconsin along I-30/90 can witness Kerry's restored prairie abloom with black-eyed Susan, purple prairie clover and wild bergamot, among dozens of other beneficial native plant species.

↑  back to top






Is your garden looking worn out after the summer drought? Now is the time to spend some time cleaning up and cutting back. By August, several perennial plants have put on a lot of growth, bloomed, suffered through heat and drought, and are looking very bedraggled. Here are a few suggestions you can do to perk up that garden.

Deadhead flowers. Remove faded flowers. When you deadhead, remove the whole flower, not just the faded petals. Deadheading or pruning foliage down to where a new flower bud is emerging will extend their growth for a month or two.

Plant spring flowering bulbs. Air temperatures are cooling off, while soil temperatures stay warm. The warm soil encourages root development.

Don't prune trees and shrubs yet. Wait until autumn is really here and the leaves are changing color and falling off the trees to do your late summer pruning.

Don't fertilize trees and shrubs. Fertilizing, like pruning trees and shrubs, should wait until autumn is truly here. You can fertilize in autumn (very late September or early October), because the soil temperatures are still warm and the roots are actively growing. 











LEED emblem 


While most people know that LEED credit is available for green building practices, many do not know some of those green building practices include the use of native plantings.

The U.S. Green Building Council developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ("LEED") which consists of a set of ratings for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. Its purpose is to provide the building industry with a framework for identifying and implementing green building and operating techniques. Another purpose is to provide the general public with a way of evaluating a building project's sustainability.


Under the LEED rating system, building projects earn points in the following categories: Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy and Atmosphere (EA), Materials and Resources (MR), Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), and Innovation in Design (ID). The number of points a building project earns determines its level of LEED Certification, with "Certified" being the lowest level of certification, and progressing through "Silver," "Gold," and finally the highest level - "Platinum." LEED certification is available for all building types including new construction and major renovation, existing buildings, commercial interiors, core and shell, schools and homes. A LEED certification can reap major benefits for a building project:  

  • It is prestigious and thus can result in increased sales and rental revenues;
  • Many state and local programs offer tax breaks, faster or cheaper permitting or other incentives to those seeking LEED certification;
  • It should result in extensive operational cost savings in terms of energy consumption;
  • The projects are much more environmentally sensitive in that they reduce the impact of construction, create less pollution from fossil fuel sources and improve natural water hydrology.

Some of the LEED sections for which planting native species can earn credit for a building project are as follows:


1. SS 5.1 Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat 1 Credit

For projects whose sites have been previously developed or graded, restoration or protection of a minimum of 50% of the site area (excluding the building footprint) with native or adapted vegetation will earn credit. Vegetated roof surfaces may also receive credit if the plants meet the definition of native/adapted.

2. SS 5.2 Site Development: Maximize Open Space 1 Credit

While this section also focuses on increasing open space, its intent is to maximize the ratio of open space to the building footprint. Wetlands, ponds and vegetated roof surfaces can all be used to earn credit under this section.

3. SS 6.1 Stormwater Design: Quantity Control 1 Credit,
and SS 6.2 Stormwater Design: Quality Control 1 Credit

Native plantings can be used in the design and implementation of a stormwater management plan to help minimize impervious areas on the site, protect against stream erosion, and promote infiltration.


4. SS 7.1 Heat Island Effect: Non-Roof 1 Credit, and SS 7.2 Heat Island Effect: Roof 1 Credit 

Heat islands are temperature differences between developed and undeveloped areas. The increased heat from buildings, roads and other structures increases the overall temperature. An important way to mitigate this impact is to increase the cover of vegetation by use of vegetated roof tops and open area plantings. Green roofs are excellent insulators during the summer months and the vegetation cools the surrounding environment. 


LEED certification is an extremely prestigious accomplishment, reaping great benefits to the builder/developer. Tallgrass has professionals who can help builders/developers maximize their LEED credits.


↑  back to top






The Friends of Ryerson Woods hosts six visual art exhibitions annually which explore the intersection of art and nature. The Art Committee reviews artists' work throughout the year and invites submission of work in any visual medium (photography, sculpture, painting, mixed media, drawing and video) that is inspired by, critiques or reflects on the natural world.

Doug DeWitt, one of the project managers at Tallgrass, entered four pieces of his artwork in the Genius Loci: Listening to Nature's Muse Group Exhibition. The exhibition ran July 8th to August 31, 2012 at Ryerson Woods, 21850 N. Riverwoods Road, Deerfield, IL.




↑  back to top






2012 has been one of extreme drought. Droughts are not uncommon occurrences in the United States. In fact, in any given year there are drought conditions present somewhere in the United States. This year's drought is, however, on a different scale than the normal drought. As of mid-August, drought covered over 60% of the contiguous 48 states, with over 25% of the country experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. About half of the crops and about 60 of the rangelands and pastures are in poor or very poor condition.

While the drought takes the heaviest toll on farmers and others who make their livings off of the land, the drought also affects the beauty of our natural areas, open spaces and landscaping. The combination of high temperatures and lack of rain decimated most conventional landscaping that was not irrigated. If you look carefully, however, you will notice that native plantings not only survived the drought, but in some cases, continued to thrive.

Prairie roots   Drought on the prairie was such a common phenomenon that the native prairie plants adapted their root and other systems to be able to access more available water sources and use it most effectively. Non-native plants and grasses commonly have root systems that descend only inches into the soil, so they are only able to tap into water that is present near the surface where moisture is lost quickly. The more extensive roots systems of the native plants and grasses, some which descend 10 feet into the soil, are able to tap into deeper reserves of water below the surface, leaving them much healthier than non-natives in a drought.

Native plants not only have better adaptability in drought conditions, but planting native plants can also help lessen the effects of a drought. Since native plants don't require the amount of watering that non-native plantings do, landowners with native plantings have much less of a need to water or irrigate. As a result, water is conserved for more essential uses, like food production. Planting native is the best way to avoid the negative effects of a drought.



↑  back to top



Mike Tyler 



The employee spotlight of our summer newsletter is Michael Tyler. Mike has been with Tallgrass for just over one year but has worked in the field for about two years.


Mike hails from Barrington, Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2009.  




Before joining Tallgrass, Mike worked as an Ecological Restoration intern at Hey and Associates, Inc. and a summer conservation intern at Citizens for Conservation. When asked what made him want to work in ecological restoration he stated ". . . a love for being outdoors and a strong curiosity to understand how our actions can effectively alter and renew disturbed or fragmented habitats in the north Midwest" drew him in. Mike also said that "the most rewarding part of the job for him is viewing how quickly an old agricultural field or man-made body of water can become valuable habitat and eventually a self-sustainable ecosystem through mitigation and other conservation efforts. Contributing to the preservation of these diminishing ecosystems while maintaining client satisfaction is a win-win for me."


The staff at Tallgrass has nothing but complimentary words when it comes to Mike. "Mike is one of the best guys we have.  I get notes from other people asking me to add time to the clock for him because he will punch out, go out to leave, and then stay and help other people pulling in for the next hour.  I have never heard one complaint out of him. He is always here on time and with a smile on." With those kind words, how could Mike NOT be our employee spotlight? 


Mike also enjoys snowboarding, skateboarding, reading, percussion and hiking when he's not out in the field.  

↑  back to top  






 PLANT I.D. QUIZ - Allergenic plants and trees


allergy sufferer



Many plants and trees contribute to the misery of allergy sufferers.  If you are one of these unfortunate people, perhaps by learning to identify some of these plants and trees you will be able to limit your exposure to them, and as a result, your sniffles.  








 1.  Which of these depicts ambrosia artemisiifolia, better known as common ragweed, the most prolific and irritating of the plant allergens?

a.  common burdock b.  common ragweed better c.sweet clover






2.  This plant, goldenrod  (solidago spp.), is often mistakenly blamed as an allergen when in fact is is not pollinated by wind so disperses little or no allergen into the air.  Find this much maligned beauty. 


a.goldenrod b.Susan c.Cup 






3.  Trees also contribute to allergy suffering, although primarily in the spring.  The box elder (acer negundo) pictured below is one of the most highly allergenic trees found in the Midwest.  Which one of these is these is the box elder? 


a.Quiz   b.box elderc.red maple 





↑  back to top





U.S. Fish and Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the agency within the United States Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife and natural habitats.

The mission of the agency is "working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people." The Service offers a variety of programs primarily on a cost share basis to private and public landowners to help fulfill its mission.


Specifically, the programs address the following goals of the service:

* Protect and recover threatened and endangered species
* Monitor and manage migratory birds 

* Restore nationally significant fisheries
* Conserve and restore wildlife habitat such as wetlands


If you would like to learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and what programs you might qualify for, you can contact Tallgrass at 847-925-9830, or visit the Service's website at: www.fws.gov.


back to top


The Plant Corner




Nodding Wild Onion

Allium cernuum



Nodding wild onion is found in open woodlands, savannas and prairies. It has long, slender, grass-like stems with leaves that smell like onions or garlic when crushed. The flower stalks are 1-2 feet tall and are usually white, but sometimes pale pink or lavender. The flower stalk bends just below the flower head, causing the flower heads to look like they are "nodding."


Other species of onions look similar, but nodding wild onion is the only one that blooms in late summer rather than spring or early summer. It blooms for about a month with very attractive and distinctive flowers.


Nodding wild onion attracts honey bees, perhaps because the "nodding" flowers protect the nectar from rain. It also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The "nodding" heads protect the flower from insect damage, since few insects like to hang upside down while feeding.

The bulb of the nodding wild onion is edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked. The juice of the plant can be used to repel moths, moles and biting insects.








        ↑   back to top


The Plant Corner




Queen Anne's Lace
Daucus carota     


Queen Anne's Lace 

This lacy little flower, native to Europe and Southwest Asia, is now pervasive in disturbed sunny, open areas throughout the United States. Queen Anne's lace has a delicate appearance and grows to 4 feet in height. The leaves resemble those of the parsley. The umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers contains numerous white flowers, often (but not always) with a single red flower in the center. This red center was supposed to represent a drop of blood when Queen Anne pricked her finger.

When the foliage is damaged, it gives off the smell of fresh carrots. In fact, another common name for this species is wild carrot. The carrots we eat are a cultivated variety of this species. Be careful when gathering this plant as it looks a great deal like poisonous hemlock, which is a very dangerous plant. Also, contact with the leaves can cause phytophotodermatitis, an inflammatory skin eruption.

The crushed seeds of Queen Anne's lace were once thought to be a form of birth control, as noted by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. This hypothesis has found some support in research which has found that the seeds of the plant disrupt the ovum implantation process, and perhaps block progesterone synthesis.


↑  back to top





Creamy Dill Cucumber Toasts

cucumber appetizer Here is an easy and yummy appetizer to help use up the cucumbers from the garden. 




1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 French baguette, cut into 1/2 inch thick circles

1 cucumber, sliced

2 teaspoons dried dill weed




In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, dressing mix and mayonnaise.

Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on a slice of bread, and top with a slice of     cucumber. Sprinkle with dill. Repeat with remaining ingredients.   Enjoy! 


 back to top





Tallgrass Land Conservation is proud to announce that its first wetland mitigation bank, TALLGRASS LAND CONSERVATION - BASS CREEK WETLAND MITIGATION BANK, has been approved and will soon be up and running! The wetland bank is a 106 acre site located south of Janesville in Wisconsin where Bass Creek and the Rock River converge. It will be planted as what the site would have historically been - a floodplain forest, with smaller areas planted as mesic prairie and shallow marsh/wet prairie.  

For those of you who are interested in what exactly a wetland mitigation bank is, here is a brief explanation.


It is estimated that the United States has lost over half of its wetland acres since European Settlement. Some states, like Illinois, have lost up to 85% of its wetlands due to draining and filling. In the last 40 years, there has been a growing understanding of the important, if nWetland Bankingot essential, functions of wetlands. Since the late 1980s, the federal policy has been that there should be "no net loss" of wetlands. To make up for a loss of wetlands, a developer is now required to replace every lost acre of wetland under federal jurisdiction with one or more acres of created or restored wetland. While such developers are able to create their own onsite or offsite wetland mitigation site, this is often technically difficult, time consuming and expensive. Now, developers are able to mitigate their destruction of wetlands by purchasing credits in a wetland mitigation bank.


A mitigation banker creates a bank by restoring or creating wetlands on land that previously was not designated as wetlands. The mitigation banker then earns a "credit" or "partial credit" for each acre of wetland created or restored. The bank then can sell these credits to developers who are filling in wetlands - usually small, very poor quality pockets - who must compensate for the destruction of wetlands under the Clean Water Act.


Mitigation banks have several advantages over onsite or individual offsite mitigation of destroyed wetlands: 

  • Size. Mitigation banks are much larger than the small pockets of wetlands they are replacing. They must be a minimum of 25 acres, which create higher quality wetlands both in terms of hydrologic impacts and habitat, than small, isolated wetlands.
  • Expertise. The long term success of a wetland bank is more likely than that of smaller onsite or offsite mitigation projects because mitigation bankers have the scientific/technological resources and incentives to succeed, which developers lack.
  • Elimination of time lag. Wetland banks perform the restoration of the wetlands before they can sell the credit to a developer. So, since the mitigation is performed prior to any wetlands destruction, there is no lag time between the destruction of and reintroduction of wetlands, and no "net loss" of wetland functionality even for a short period of time. In contrast, when a developer mitigates on its own, there is frequently, if not always, a significant time lag creating a loss of wetland functionality for some period of time. 
  • Monitoring. Finally, due to the extensive regulation and monitoring by the federal agencies, there is little risk of the failure of a wetland bank, whereas there is no long term monitoring of individual onsite or offsite wetland compensation sites to ensure their continued viability as wetlands. 

We are proud to have our first Tallgrass wetland mitigation bank approved and look forward to developing more banks.


↑  back to top




Tracy and Tim   

Tracy Runice and Tim Thompson were united in Holy Matrimony on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012. Tracy has been with Tallgrass since 2004 and is our Chief Operating Officer. She handles all of the HR matters and basically is the go-to person at Tallgrass.


Tracy and Tim are following their hearts and are planning a "green" wedding. One of their green ideas was asking invitees to RSVP online rather than mailing a response card in order to reduce waste.


All here at Tallgrass wish Tracy and Tim much love and happiness in their married life.



                ↑ back to top


Tallgrass Announcements:




July 2012 - Michael Tyler, 1 year

July 2012 - Rachel Lambert, 1 year

August 2012 - Cory Cote, 1 year
August 2012 - Chris Kaplan, 7 years
December 2012 - Tracy Runice, 8 years




Thurs. Nov. 15, 2012

Chicago Wilderness Congress

University of Illinois, Chicago



Sat. Nov. 30th, 2012
6th Annual Southeastern Wisconsin Rural Landowner Workshop
Kenosha County Center - Bristol, WI




Answers to Plant I.D. Quiz: 1.b; 2.a; 3.b

↑ back to top









Phone: 847-925-9830

Fax: 847-925-9840

Tallgrass Restoration

2221 Hammond Drive

Schaumburg, IL 60173-3813


Project Ecologists


Doug DeWitt


Mark Micek


Troy Showerman





Phone: 608-531-1768

Fax: 608-551-2227


Tallgrass Restoration

3129 E. County Road N

Milton, WI 53563


Project Ecologists


Chris Kaplan


Jordan Rowe




Illinois and Wisconsin


Ron Adams, President


Tracy Runice - Customer Service, General Information, Bonding, Compliance or Insurance 

















↑ back to top



Thanks for reading the fall issue of A Tallgrass Legacy. Look for our winter issue coming soon!
Your Friends at Tallgrass Restoration

Tallgrass  Facebook  YouTube
Tallgrass Restoration is a subsidiary of Tallgrass Group, a company that integrates land and water stewardship focusing on native landscapes and other ecological solutions including landscape design, conservation development, and wetland banking initiatives.