Summer 2022 Conservationist

News & Notes

Fish to Gain New Passageway at McDowell Grove

metal baffles of installed fish passageway

The Fawell Dam located in the West Branch DuPage River at McDowell Grove is an important flood-control structure. Owned and managed by DuPage County Division of Stormwater, the dam’s three gates control the flow through three large concrete box culverts, protecting Naperville from flooding by lowering downstream flood-stage elevations.

But the dam also creates an upstream barrier to fish, many of which are returning to this stretch of the river as water quality and habitat steadily improve. Surveys between 2007 and 2020 have shown that 12 species of native fish such as flathead catfish, rock bass, blackstripe topminnows, and emerald shiners are only found downstream of the structure.

Finding a way for fish to bypass the dam was technically challenging, but DuPage County, the Forest Preserve District, and the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup are working together to install a patented fishway by BK-Riverfish in Amherst, Massachusetts, to do the job. The metal chute is divided by baffles into small pools, which will allow fish to swim from pool to pool from the bottom upstream to the top. (They’ll be able to swim downstream as well.) The agencies involved expect the fishway to be completed by 2023.  Image © BK-Riverfish LLC, Amherst, MA


Collections Corner

old trunks in an attic

Whether at construction sites, in closets, or in relatives’ attics, people unexpectedly discover historic items every day. In that moment, the finder may be unsure of what to do next. When the Forest Preserve District discovers a new find, it can face the same dilemma.

Thankfully, the District is guided by policies that help make the task easier. A “scope of collections” policy creates helpful boundaries, ensuring proper care and use of each item. With it, the District considers issues like provenance (where did it come from), ownership (who actually has a claim to it), purpose (how can it connect residents to the land through its past), and legal expectations (which laws affect it). Just as local historical societies and museums do, the Forest Preserve District ensures that each artifact added to its collection holds a specific place in the history of the people and the public lands of DuPage. Image sirtravelalot/


Live and on Demand

headquarters building

Can’t make it to a board meeting? Find schedules and agendas and watch it live or on demand under “Our Board.” You can also link directly to live streaming video from the Forest Preserve District’s Facebook page at

Commission meetings and planning sessions are open to the public and held at Forest Preserve District headquarters at 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton. Normally, commission meetings are at 8 a.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month; planning sessions, 8 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays. At both the board hears public comments and staff reports, discusses business, and votes on agenda items.


Visitor Services Saturday Phone Hours

woman outdoors using a phone

Now through Aug. 27 (except July 2) Visitor Services will be available on Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer your calls, emails, and online chats. The office won’t be open for in-person visits, but you’ll still get answers to all those questions you missed during the week. Get in touch at 630-933-7248 or, or use our chat box at

To reach the office during these hours, call 630-933-7248, email, or chat online at Image lzf/


The Preserve Welcomes First Full Season With New Clubhouse


Golfers and any groups looking for a place to meet are enjoying great views at The Preserve at Oak Meadows new clubhouse.

The one-story, 18,000-square-foot building has environmentally friendly features, such as a green roof, native landscaping with pollinator-friendly plants, sustainably sourced wood, and energy-efficient building systems. It also features a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating areas, a multipurpose event room, a pro shop, locker rooms, and office space.

The chef’s menu at the Greenway Tap restaurant includes sandwiches, salads, healthy inspirations, and featured plates. For details, including current hours and directions, visit


Successful Rehab Story Has Happier Ending

bald eagle flying

In January a concerned birder contacted the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors group to collect a bald eagle she spotted in a puddle at the side of the road. The volunteers brought the eagle to Willowbrook Wildlife Center, which concluded the animal suffered from rodenticide poisoning, most likely from eating a poisoned mouse or rat.

After almost 40 days of treatment, the bird was healthy enough to return to the wild, and center staff released it (pictured above) near the spot where it had originally been found. Shortly thereafter, observers spotted the eagle reuniting with its mate.

In May, the same birder spotted the pair’s nest — now occupied by two eaglets as well!


Birding News

Henslow's sparrow

The Bird Conservation Network, a coalition of 21 conservation organizations in the six-county Chicago region, recently analyzed 22 years of bird survey data collected within local natural areas, including 45 DuPage forest preserves. The survey results, which are posted at, indicate that preservation and restoration efforts within forests, prairies, wetlands, and shrublands are benefiting many species.

Of the 104 species analyzed, 56% are stable or increasing within our region, compared to only 37% for the rest of Illinois. The study also concluded that grasslands within the six-county study are globally important for Henslow’s sparrows (shown above) and that management efforts have benefited this species tremendously. However, many breeding birds such as bobolinks and ovenbirds are declining, demonstrating a clear need to continue focusing on conservation practices that benefit birds.

Also of note, our region may be the single-most important migration corridor in North America, providing much-needed food and shelter for migratory species.
A special thank you is extended to the 66 District volunteers who contributed to this data set over the past two decades!


Many Thanks

summer flowers

The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts Jan. 1 - March 31. To learn how your financial support can benefit the District, visit To give to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Friends of the Forest Preserve District, visit

Gifts of Note
Richard Pena and Edith Podrazik
$1,500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Anthony and Joyce Carey
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Dennis Dean
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center


Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
Jeffrey Jens
$75,000 – Green Energy Endowment Fund

Ann Boisclair
$25,000 – Green Energy Endowment Fund

Estate of Beth Fikar
$25,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center capital projects

Dare Family
$6,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Domtar Paper Company
$3,500 – Natural Resources, Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Edward Jones Financial Advisors
$2,500 – Greatest needs

Gerald and Amy Tavolino
$2,500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in memory of Gayle Ann Reed

Susan Johansen
$1,500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Patrick and Mary Mauro
$1,300 – Mayslake Peabody Estate restoration capital projects

$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Jay Boryscka
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in honor of Suzanne Boryscka

COUR Pharmaceuticals
$1,000 – Greatest needs in memory of Frank Podijil

Bruce Lauer
$1,000 – St. James Farm in memory of Holden Wight

Frank and Patricia Moscardini Jr.
$1,000 - St. James Farm in memory of Holden Wight

Matthew and Jaime Szafranski
$1,000 – St. James Farm in memory of Holden Wight

Nancy Hermann
$550 – Greatest needs

Jeremy Caulk
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in memory of Gayle Ann Reed

Jennifer Chidlow
$500 – Natural Resources Restoration Capital Projects

Anthony Komro
$500 – St. James Farm in memory of Holden Wight

Manhard Consulting
$500 – Greatest needs

Mallory Neuberg
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in memory of Peeps and Margo