Urban Stream Research Center

Aiding Native Aquatics

The Urban Stream Research Center (USRC) serves as the Forest Preserve District’s facility for aquatic conservation programs and is the only facility of its kind in Illinois. Located where Springbrook Creek enters the West Branch DuPage River in Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, the building opened in 2012 and was funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is the result of a partnership between DuPage County Stormwater Management and the Forest Preserve District.

The center’s main purpose is to augment common native freshwater mussels that were historically more abundant and diverse within the Des Plaines River Basin.

As part of the Aquatic Species Recovery Program (ASRP), native freshwater mussels, which are the most imperiled and vulnerable species in the country, are propagated, reared and released into known historical watersheds, where they are then monitored. Since the center's opening, over 25,000 native freshwater mussels have been propagated at the center and released in local rivers and streams.

The Forest Preserve District manages over 1,100 acres of aquatic habitats, including lakes, streams and rivers. The center also serves as a field research station, partnering with local conservation groups, universities and other institutions on collaborative and applied research in aquatic conservation that seeks solutions to problems facing urban rivers and streams. The District’s Aquatic Monitoring and Research Program surveys the aquatic species and character of rivers and streams on District property.

In addition to the aquatic species recovery efforts and other programs, the center also supports the rearing of federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly larvae and Great Plaines Mudbug. 

The center is closed to the public. For other information, call 630-206-9625.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers scores of nature-related programs and activities for grownups, kids, families and groups year-round. Click below to register for programs — including our Volunteer Restoration Workdays.