Forest Preserve District and DuPage County Begin Danada Restoration Project
(Feb. 9, 2017) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and DuPage County Stormwater Management are working together to create and restore wetlands and prairie at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton.
The project will restore approximately 21 acres of wetlands and 23 acres of prairie on the south side of Butterfield Road a half-mile west of Naperville Road, improving habitat for native wildlife and allowing the land to better accept, store and clean stormwater.
The land at one time contained these important habitats, but in the late 1800s farmers tilled the prairie and buried clay tiles to drain wetter areas for crops and pastures.
Plans call for disabling the buried tiles and installing features that will bring back more natural groundwater conditions. Crews will also mow and remove weedy trees and brush, control invasive plants and reintroduce native vegetation to improve the ecology of the site.
Funding is being provided by DuPage County’s Fee in Lieu of Wetland Mitigation Banking Fund, which is used to offset the loss of similar habitat during development.
“This project is at the core of the District’s mission and will benefit native wildlife as well as DuPage County residents,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore. “We’re thrilled to see this project move forward. It will provide vital habitat for native wildlife and additional stormwater storage.”
“Several years ago, DuPage County and the Forest Preserve District reviewed areas in need of restoration that would offer both stormwater management and ecological benefits, and Danada was at the top of that list,” said Jim Zay, chairman of the DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee. “We’re so pleased to break ground on this important project and to utilize Wetland Mitigation Banking Funds to fulfill their intended purpose of cleaning our water and improving our environment.”
Danada Forest Preserve and its trails will remain open during most of the work, but the District may need to temporarily close trails and natural areas for visitors’ safety. Visitors should be careful near construction areas and follow all signs and workers’ instructions. Construction activities should be substantially completed by 2018 and initial maintenance activities should be completed by 2022.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter andInstagrampages.