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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Urban Stream Research Center

The Urban Stream Research Center (USRC) is located on the Roy C. Blackwell Forest Preserve in DuPage County, Illinois, adjacent to the West Branch DuPage River and Springbrook Creek. These urban aquatic systems are key components to the research.

Prior to the construction of this facility, the United States Environmental Protection Agency mandated a radioactive waste cleanup of portions of Kress Creek and the West Branch DuPage River in DuPage County, requiring a basic level of restoration. The County then obtained grant funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enhance the ecological restoration of Kress Creek and the West Branch DuPage River further once clean-up activities were complete.

One of the projects identified in the overall restoration plan was the design and construction of the Urban Stream Research Center where aquatic species recovery activities could take place. The County provided design, project management and construction oversight for this building. Following construction, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County assumed the maintenance and ongoing research activities at the facility. 

The overall goals of the Urban Stream Research Center include:

  1. Augment the population densities and increase the diversity of freshwater mussel and non-game fish species that are in decline or extirpated in the West Branch DuPage River.
  2. Evaluate the success and impacts of ongoing habitat restoration and remediation projects along the river.
  3. Improve the success of urban aquatic habitat restoration and enhancement.
  4. Provide educational opportunities for groups interested in urban aquatic species.

Forest Preserve staff will use the new facility to monitor, raise and reintroduce native mussels and non-game fish to local waters. Research activities include improving the understanding of microhabitat needs for species survival in order to improve the success of species re-introductions, as well as evaluating the success of habitat restoration techniques in urban aquatic environments.

As part of the educational component of the project, DuPage County incorporated BMPs (Best Management Practices) into the design of the facility with educational signs and exhibits in each area. The goal is to demonstrate ways the public can help protect aquatic systems; for example, a rain garden will show how to reduce the impacts of storm runoff. 

The comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment has ended.

USRC Draft Environmental Assessment Figures

USRC Draft Environmental Assessment Plans