In spring 2019 the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County continued work on 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).
August 2020 Update
The dry summer has been favorable for construction, and crews have made significant progress in digging the final portion of new stream channel. Excavation should be complete by month’s end. Many finishing touches of the project remain, including diverting water flow into the new channel, grading the old channel to create wetlands and prairie, removing nonnative vegetation from surrounding areas, laying asphalt over a bridge, and placing crushed limestone on the regional trail surface. If the weather continues to cooperate, the project will be substantially complete by this fall.
The restoration project is funded by the Illinois Tollway and will mitigate impacts from rebuilding the Central Tri-State Tollway I-294 (link).
2,200 feet of new stream was constructed in 2019.
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.