West Branch trail reopens at Blackwell as Spring Brook Creek restoration project wraps up

  • The West Branch DuPage River Trail through Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville has reopened. The Spring Brook Creek restoration project is designed to improve habitat and water quality.

    The West Branch DuPage River Trail through Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville has reopened. The Spring Brook Creek restoration project is designed to improve habitat and water quality. Courtesy of DuPage County Forest Preserve District

 
Submitted By Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Updated 11/9/2020 12:01 PM

The West Branch DuPage River Trail through Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville has reopened as work wraps up on the Spring Brook Creek restoration project.

Trail users will see an improved trail rerouted and moved to higher ground to prevent frequent flooding.

 

The trail will also provide a beautiful view of the re-meandered creek and a colorful array of native wildflowers planted along the trail and stream.

Work on the $7.5 million project began in late April 2019 and will continue after the trail is open.

A gravel service road from Mack Road will be paved in the next one to two weeks, and crews will continue to manage the newly planted vegetation and control invasive species for several years.

The restoration project improves habitat and water quality along Spring Brook Creek, creating better conditions for wildlife and providing visitors with impressive views of the surrounding prairies, wetlands and woodlands.

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The work is funded by the Illinois Tollway to mitigate effects from rebuilding the central Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

The restoration connects the creek to the floodplain, letting nutrient-rich floodwaters to flow into surrounding forest preserves and newly created wetlands, and allowing the floodplain to store and filter stormwater.

The project also:

The Spring Brook restoration project involved creating a meandering waterway by replacing a straight ditch created decades ago. This will create wetlands to convey upstream stormwater and treated effluent. In 2019, 2,200 feet of new stream was constructed.
The Spring Brook restoration project involved creating a meandering waterway by replacing a straight ditch created decades ago. This will create wetlands to convey upstream stormwater and treated effluent. In 2019, 2,200 feet of new stream was constructed. - Courtesy of DuPage County Forest Preserve District

• Meandered the creek and created wetlands;

• Removed a dam to allow fish and mussels to move upstream;

• Added gravel, cobbles and boulders to the creek to improve habitat for macroinvertebrates, fish and freshwater mussels;

• Reduced flooding along service roads;

• Replaced invasive brush and trees not historically found in this area with native plants;

• Moved the West Branch DuPage River trail out of the floodplain;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Replaced a deteriorating bridge;

• Created a better forest preserve for visitors and wildlife.

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, 166 miles of trails, six 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, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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