McDowell Grove, West Branch DuPage River Habitat Restoration And Hydraulic Improvements Project

Starting May 2013, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and DuPage County Stormwater Management began to restore a 3-mile stretch of the West Branch of the DuPage River, including 2 miles within McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville. This project is part of the greater West Branch DuPage River Corridor Restoration Project. The project, funded in part by a $1.37 million grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, will be completed December 2016. McDowell Grove and its trails will remain open during most of the work, but visitors should be careful near construction areas and follow all signs and workers’ instructions.

The initial phases of invasive species control, including woody brush and tree removal, is complete, as is supplemental seeding and planting and installation of river habitat including riffles and pools. Native plant establishment, including mowing, controlled burning and herbicide applications will continue over the next three years. Planting of native emergent plugs will continue in the buffer zones of the river during spring/summer 2014.

When completed, the project will benefit native wildlife by improving in-stream habitat and enhancing native riverbank and floodplain vegetation. Work along the McDowell Grove floodplain will help homeowners, too, by removing invasive trees and shrubs that will allow the area to better receive and transport stormwater.

DuPage County Stormwater Management will also be constructing a flood control berm with a multi-use path along the east side of River Road in Warrenville, as well as additional flood control improvements between Warrenville and Diehl Roads that will increase stormwater storage and transport capacities.


Work crews began removing woody invasive species in December, 2013. Click here to read more on this phase of the project.


Click here to watch District Natural Resources Director John Oldenburg talk about the benefits of the project to wildlife and visitors.

For more information on this project, please visit


Project areas are highlighted in red.

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