Beginning in spring 2019 the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will continue a large-scale restoration project along Spring Brook — a tributary of the West Branch DuPage River — that runs through Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
The restoration project will:
- Meander the waterway — replacing a straight ditch created decades ago — and create wetlands to convey upstream stormwater and treated effluent
- Connect the creek to the floodplain, allowing nutrient-rich floodwaters to more easily flow into the surrounding forest preserve to revitalize the floodplain’s natural ability to temporarily store and filter stormwater
- Remove a dam to allow fish to swim freely upstream
- Add gravels, cobbles and boulders to the creek to improve habitat for macroinvertebrates, fish and freshwater mussels
- Enhance drier, higher ground along the creek by removing invasive, nonnative vegetation and replacing with native species
- Replace a deteriorating bridge and move the West Branch DuPage River Trail out of the floodplain
A part of the regional trail and the youth-group campground at Blackwell will be closed through 2020. Campsite availability at the family campground will be limited in 2019, although there will be some openings on select Friday and Saturday nights.
Construction is anticipated through late 2020 or early 2021, and crews will continue to manage the vegetation and prevent invasive species from establishing after construction ends.
View the Spring Brook No. 1 Creek and Wetland Restoration — Phase 2 Project Map (PDF) or the Spring Brook Phase 2 Presentation (PDF).
January 2020 Update
Construction crews continue to make progress in creating a new stream channel to improve aquatic conditions. Approximately 40% of the new creek channel has been built and significant progress has been made to install two new bridges. A prominent feature visible to many Blackwell visitors is the temporary channel along the main road. This channel diverts flow around the impoundment so construction crews have a dry work area to dig the new permanent stream channel. The project site — including the youth campground and a portion of the regional trail — will remain closed through most of 2020.
2,200 feet of new stream was constructed in 2019.
The restoration project is funded by the Illinois Tollway and will mitigate impacts from rebuilding the Central Tri-State Tollway I-294 (link).
Since 2015 the Forest Preserve has worked on a stretch of Spring Brook Creek upstream at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville. Fish and freshwater mussels are now able to move further and further upstream, and wildlife — including spotted sandpipers and native hibiscus — are benefiting from a revitalized habitat. Visitors not only enjoy the sounds of the babbling creek but also the opportunity to view native plants and animals.