The Forest Preserve District is moving forward with plans to improve the West Branch DuPage River through four forest preserves to create an ecologically healthy and more contiguous river corridor.
Dubbed the West Branch DuPage River Corridor Habitat Improvement Project, plans call for creating a more contiguous habitat along the river through West DuPage Woods, Blackwell, Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove forest preserves in the communities of West Chicago, Warrenville and Naperville.The project will build upon previous enhancements vital for floodwater storage and conveyance, water filtration and ecological habitat.
This work is part of a larger initiative within the West Branch DuPage River watershed that includes the Klein Fen river restoration and wetland mitigation project at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett, an upcoming river restoration project at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park, and the restoration of Spring Brook Creek, a tributary that flows through St. James Farm and Blackwell forest preserves in Warrenville.
A 2013 intergovernmental agreement between the District and DuPage County allowed several grant-funded stormwater and ecological improvement projects to be completed along the West Branch in Warrenville and McDowell Grove forest preserves.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County invites gardeners to get ready to go native by placing presale orders today through April 17 for its 10th annual Native Plant Sale.
This year’s sale will be at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 West 31st Street in Oak Brook on Friday, May 12 from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. and Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gardeners who place presale orders can pick them up at the public sale May 12 and 13, or they can do all of their shopping at the sale at Mayslake, where they’ll also be able to get advice from Forest Preserve District experts. New for 2017, they can also pick up orders May 12, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago Plants will not be available for sale outside of the presale orders at Kline Creek Farm.
The Native Plant Sale catalog, which includes photos, descriptions and prices are available here. Gardeners can pay for presale and same-day orders with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. All proceeds will support educational programming at the District.
Most plants at this year’s sale originate from seed collected within 100 miles of DuPage County and are not treated with insecticides containing neonicotinoids, which are harmful to bees and other insect pollinators. Gardeners who landscape with native plants help wildlife by providing additional habitat for them.
A new 1-mile trail for hikers, bikers and horseback riders is being built through McCormick Woods on the north side of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
The trail will connect a recently installed pedestrian bridge over Spring Brook Creek to an existing 2-mile looped trail, which circles around the equestrian facilities at St. James Farm and connects to the Illinois Prairie Path.
The Forest Preserve District has already started to prepare the proposed trail corridor. By working during the dormant winter months, crews are able to lessen the effects heavy equipment may have on native vegetation. The Spring Brook Creek bridge was built in 2015 as part of the ecological restoration of 2.3 miles of the floodplain that runs through St. James Farm.
Both the bridge and trail are part of a multiphase development plan which includes bringing sewer and water lines to the east side of St. James Farm via Wiesbrook Road along Hoy Avenue by spring 2018. Other plans call for improvements to the indoor riding arena to accommodate public use, programs and equestrian events.