CHICAGO (CBS) — Work is expected to begin next week to create and restore dozens of acres of wetlands and prairies in DuPage County.
150 years ago, the area of the Danada Forest Preserve on the south side of Butterfield Road, a half mile west of Naperville Road was converted from wetlands and prairie to farmland.
Now, it’s being converted back to its original state.
Nick Fuller, Natural Resources Project Coordinator for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, says 21 acres will be turned back into wetlands while 23 acres are turned into prairie.
The importance of the wetlands, Fuller says, is to allow water to better seep into the ground to lessen the chance for flooding and to clean storm water naturally.
Fuller says the wetlands “act like sponges for capturing storm water, filtering it, allowing it to go into the groundwater table and recharge that groundwater which we use for drinking water.”
The plan is to disable the buried tiles and install features that will bring back more natural groundwater conditions, according to the news release.
Invasive species of plants will be removed and natural species planted.
DuPage County Board Member Jim Zay says the project will cost $980,000 and will be paid for with fees charged to landowners who encroach on wetlands.
He says, “No taxpayer money on this. This is all coming out of these fees that developers and landowners pay.”
The Forest Preserve and its trails will remain open during most of the work, the news release revealed. However, the District may need to temporarily close trails and natural areas for visitors’ safety.