Spring Grove Fen

Nature Preserve Area: 
Location and Access: 
From the intersection of Hwy. 12 and Richardson Road in Spring Grove take Hwy. 12 east 1 mile to Johnsburg (Wilmot) Road. Turn north on Johnsburg Road. Immediately after crossing the railroad tracks, turn west on a road (Linden Road). Drive for about 0.25 mile until the road ends. The preserve is to the west about 0.25 mile further.

Special Note: This preserve is closed to the public due to the fragile nature of the soils and vegetation.

Spring Grove Fen exhibits an interesting series of former streambanks or "benches" along Nippersink Creek that illustrate how the stream has receded since the last glaciation. These "benches" also demarcate the prairie-like fen communities found along the higher "benches" from the sedge meadow communities that occur primarily in more moist sites located between the lower "benches" and the present course of Nippersink Creek. Both natural communities were formed and persist because of the presence of calcareous ground water that seeps from the alkaline sand and gravel deposits laid down by glacial meltwaters. This groundwater retards decomposition and leads to an alkaline peaty substrate that supports fen and calcareous sedge meadow communities. In several places the seepage unites to form spring runs. The prairie-like (or graminoid) fens contain plants adapted for alkaline conditions, such as cotton grass, dwarf birch, northern fringed orchid and grass-of-parnassus. A matrix of more traditional prairie species such as big and little bluestem, blackeyed susan and yellow star grass are also found in this community. Species adapted for the more moist sedge meadow communities recorded from this site include water parsnip, bog bedstraw and a variety of sedges.

McHenry County Conservation District
September 1988
33.4 acres
Topographic Quad: 
Fox Lake
Topo Map: 
For further information: 
Contact: McHenry County Conservation District, 6512 Harts Road, Ringwood, IL 60072 (815/678-4431)

1/2009 - R. Heidorn