Saturday, June 30, 2007

Right At Your Feet

Come on out and enjoy the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

(For those of you having trouble with the video, try double-clicking the forward arrow at bottom of the screen.)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Field Trip - Restoring A River

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County sponsored a review of the thorium clean-up site in the West Branch of the DuPage River. Yesterday was the perfect day to host a field trip outside. So 4 Commissioners (Dewey Pierotti, Wally Brown, Roger Kotecki, and I) reviewed the process, the progress, and the first fruits of the restoration. The best description of what is going on is... WOW!!!!

We had half a dozen citizens, half a dozen reporters and photogs, District staff, a myriad of consultants and on-site workers in tow. The
story is amazing.

First we reviewed the remediation site. What they do is remove as many of the fish and mussels as possible and then dam the river. They have huge pumps bypass that segment of the river through enormous tubes. Then they excavate the thorium and ship it to a site in Utah for final deposition. Amazingly, the background radiation in Utah is higher than the contaminated soil we are sending. Finally, they regrade and establish a river channel.

Next, we saw the upstream area that had just been completed. Even though it had rained the night before, the water was crystal clear. You could see to the bottom of the riverbed clear across to the other side. The plant community was starting to re-emerge. This process will be helped along by seeding and planting as part of the restoration. 3 types of oaks were planted in this area- burr oak, swamp white oak, and shingle oak. The river itself had newly created ripples, and various natural features that will speed up and slow down the water flow. That will create various habitats for a diverse population. This will ultimately make for great fishing. (But wait! There's more!)

Finally, we reviewed the Deep Pool Project. This project was made possible by a
NOOA grant sponsored by Representative Denny Hastert. In the winter, fish need to have a deep hole to overwinter in. The upstream portion of the West Branch has very few of these holes. So many of the larger fish move downstream to find a winter home. Due to the dams on the river, the larger game fish can go downstream to find a hole to overwinter in, but most cannot make it upstream over the dams. This is a 4 acre pond that is 20 feet deep that will enable larger gamefish to stay upstream in the DuPage River. It will also provide spawning grounds for fish to breed in. The pond will be fed by ground water from a vast area including water coming from McKee Marsh in Blackwell FP.

Ultimately, all of these projects and others not mentioned, will improve plant and animal communities, improve water quality, and improve recreational fishing. In the big picture, this is what I mean when I say "Let's enjoy what others have given to us and be careful to pass along something better than we received."

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Guess It's Official

If you read the Naperville Sun Wednesday, you know that I am 50 and I am running for re-election.

Yes, I was surprised that there was a little party for me. I know that the District staff was happy that there was cake. I was (and am) moved by an acknowledgement of me by people that are so committed to preserving DuPage County's natural resources.

As I have said before, it is so easy to love what I do and to have a passion for the
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, because the people who work here are so dedicated. It is not only their vocation (job), but their advocation (what they love doing). It is a privilege to work with them and a joy that is miles beyond what I expected when I was first elected.

My turning 50 is what it is. I can't change that. You and I together can improve our forest preserves. My running for re-election is about what the Forest Preserve District of DuPage can become. With your help, it will become a marvel to behold!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Don't Forget To Wash Behind Your Ears

This is a young Cooper's Hawk taking a bath.

If you came to see the Cicada Video, scroll down or click here.