Sawmill Creek Erosion Stabilization and Overlook

The banks of Sawmill Creek have eroded over the years.


Beginning spring 2012, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will undertake a project to stabilize a severely eroded bank along Sawmill Creek and construct a scenic-overlook platform atop a bluff along the creek at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien. The project site is located downstream from the Rocky Glen Dam, the forest preserve’s tiered waterfall, which was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.

This area of Sawmill Creek has a steep gradient bank with high-channel velocities; its narrow floodplain is characterized by deep ravines with steeply sloped sides. The bluff, which is located approximately 50 feet above the creek, provides scenic vistas that are unique to DuPage County, and many preserve visitors take advantage of these views by traveling the District’s Regional Trail, located near the bluff top. Over the years, Sawmill Creek’s banks have eroded from runoff from the bluff’s top and base, and its riverine habitat has deteriorated from heavy foot traffic through the site.

The project’s primary goal will be to stabilize Sawmill Creek’s side-slope erosion through bioengineering techniques, versus structural measures, when possible. The project will also include the construction of a rustic scenic overlook atop the bluff. Interpretive signs at the overlook will encourage visitors to enjoy the scenic views from a controlled location, which will minimize off-trail foot traffic.

Current Status

All earth-moving activities have been completed within the project area. It is anticipated that the timber fence for the rustic overlook will be installed by early February 2013. After the fence installation is complete, the site will be reopened to the public. In spring 2013, daily closures of the overlook will occur as the contractor works to complete the site restoration and planting plan.


The project will be funded in part by a $150,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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