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Neighbors of DuPage

DuPage County Stormwater Management begins Danada wetland and prairie restoration project

Feb 20, 2017 09:02AM ● By Ben Scott

In partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, DuPage County Stormwater Management is beginning a project to create and restore wetlands and prairie at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton.

The Danada Wetland and Prairie Restoration Project will restore approximately 21 acres of wetlands and 23 acres of prairie to provide a healthier habitat for native wildlife and better accept, store and clean stormwater. The land previously contained prairies and wetlands, but these habitats were lost as farmers tilled the prairie and buried clay tiles to drain the soil for crops and pastures. 

Plans call for disabling buried agricultural drain tiles and installing additional improvements to restore a more natural groundwater condition. Crews will also mow and remove weedy trees and brush, control invasive plants and reintroduce native vegetation to improve the ecology of the site. The project area is on the south side of Butterfield Road, a half-mile west of Naperville Road.

“Several years ago, DuPage County and the Forest Preserve District reviewed areas in need of restoration that would offer both stormwater management and ecological benefits, and Danada was at the top of that list,” said DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “We’re so pleased to break ground on this important project and to utilize Wetland Mitigation Banking Funds to fulfill their intended purpose of cleaning our water and improving our environment.”

Funding is being provided by DuPage County’s Fee in Lieu of Wetland Mitigation Banking Fund, which is used to offset the loss of similar habitat during development.

“This project is at the core of the District’s mission and will benefit native wildlife as well as DuPage County residents,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore. “We’re thrilled to see this project move forward. It will provide vital habitat for native wildlife and additional stormwater storage.”

Danada Forest Preserve and its trails will remain open during most of the work. Construction activities should be substantially completed by 2018 and initial maintenance activities by 2022. However, temporary trail and natural area closures may be implemented for the safety of preserve users. Visitors should be careful near construction areas and follow all signs and workers’ instructions.