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Blackwell - Spring Brook No. 1 Wetland & Creek Restoration Phase 2

Work on this large-scale restoration project along Spring Brook through Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville is substantially complete. The only work remaining is vegetation maintenance and tree plantings this year, and next year a crew needs to finish a small section of tree and brush removal.

The restoration project:

  • Meandered the waterway — replacing a straight ditch created decades ago — and create wetlands to convey upstream stormwater and treated effluent
  • Connected 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
  • Removed a dam to allow fish to swim freely upstream
  • Added gravels, cobbles and boulders to the creek to improve habitat for macroinvertebrates, fish and freshwater mussels
  • Enhanced drier, higher ground along the creek by removing invasive, nonnative vegetation and replacing with native species
  • Replaced a deteriorating bridge and move the West Branch DuPage River Trail out of the floodplain


Status: Completed

Major construction finished in fall 2020. Crews will continue to manage the vegetation and prevent invasive species from establishing after construction ends.


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.


The restoration project is funded by the Illinois Tollway and will mitigate impacts from rebuilding the Central Tri-State Tollway I-294 (link).

Spring Brook Creek aerial during construction
Spring Brook Creek restoration Blackwell Forest Preserve aerial map