CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Botanic Garden is not just a place to see unique plants, it also collects floodwaters helping nearby communities dry.

CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross has more on how the Botanic Garden is dealing with the flooding and the important role it plays.

The Chicago Botanic Garden closed to the public on Friday after what washed over the area on Wednesday. Flooding in the garden made some paths unsafe.

“The garden’s only been closed three times in the past 45 years,” said Curator of Aquatics, Bob Kirschner.

He said more than 100 million gallons of water was added.

From Drone 2, viewers can see a portion of the 60 acres of lakes at the garden that helped capture the overflow from the nearby Skokie River.

“The gardens have all been designed intentionally to be able to occasionally take flood rises like this,” Kirschner said.

“The lakes here contain about 150 million gallons of water. They’ve since swollen to ore than 250 million gallons, but the water is better here, then in the basements of surrounding communities. All are going to benefit residually from the storm water management system from the Botanic Garden.”

David Mau of the Village of Glenco said the more flood waters kept in the garden, the fewer flooding concerns for neighbors here.

CBS: Do you expect to be getting a thank you note from Glenco?

“Yeah they’re probably appreciative,” Kirschner said.

“We talk to each other quite regularly,” Mau said.

“Other downstream communities – Northbrook, Northfield, Winnetka benefit as we take 100 millions off of the Skokie River,” Kirschner said.

The garden will eventually pump the excess water back into the river, and the Botanic Garden is expected to reopen on Saturday.

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