Each year, Chicago Wilderness presents the Dr. George B. Rabb Force of Nature Awards to recognize individuals, organizations, and projects that go above and beyond to advance conservation in the Chicago area. In 2021, one of these coveted awards will go to the Spring Brook No. 1 Creek and Wetland Restoration – Phase 2 project.
WBK Engineering worked on the Spring Brook project for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage Country. The goal of this work was to restore and naturalize over 2 miles of Spring Brook No. 1 Creek through the St. James Farm and Blackwell Forest Preserves. The FPDDC partnered with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority on the restoration as part of the required “Waters of the US” mitigation for the Authority’s Elgin-O’Hare Western Bypass Project.
As part of the site naturalization, the channelized stream was designed to meander through the forest preserve. The design seeks to optimize water quality benefits and enhance natural habitat by mimicking natural processes. The processes include geomorphologic features such as stream re-meandering, stream riffles, deep pools in channel bends, variable banks slopes, and reduced channel conveyance. These features provide variability of aquatic plant and animal habitat, reconnect the stream to the floodplain, and increase opportunities for removal of excess water-borne nutrients. Wetland creation was facilitated by stream improvements as well as field tile removal and modification. Fish passage will also be enhanced by the removal of an existing small dam and regrading a very steep reach. The realignment of the stream impacted existing trails and provided an opportunity for the FPDDC to introduce trail modifications that followed the site master plan. The improvements also included the replacement of two service road bridges and the addition of two new trail bridges.
WBK Engineering is honored to partner with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County on this and other projects in Illinois that improve recreation opportunities for residents while protecting and conserving our natural landscape and resources.