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NOAA Leads Decade-Long Repair of Contaminated Watershed

Ongoing Restoration Projects Reviving Habitat of Illinois' DuPage River

January 13, 2012
Image of the Warrenville Grove Dam in DuPage County, Ill

NOAA is working with DuPage County, Ill., Department of Development and Environmental Concerns and other partners to restore and enhance habitat along the West Branch of the DuPage River. These efforts complement ongoing remediation and mitigation work at the Kerr McGee/West Branch DuPage River Superfund Site.

For more than 10 years, NOAA has overseen a $8.6 million effort to restore habitat along the West Branch of the DuPage River in DuPage County, Ill. Creek and river sediments in the area were polluted with radioactive wastes originating from the Kerr McGee/West Branch DuPage River Superfund Site.

Most recently, in October 2011, NOAA funding supported the removal of the Warrenville Grove Dam. Removal of the dam opened 27 upstream miles of main stem and tributaries, created four acres of wetland, and restored 10 acres of floodplain forest and upland buffer. Following additional planting slated for this spring, a project partner will maintain and monitor this area.

NOAA funding also contributed to the construction of the Urban Stream Research Center, completed in 2011. The Urban Stream Research Center will work to augment population densities and increase diversity of freshwater mussel and non-game fish species that are in decline or extirpated in the West Branch DuPage River. In 2008, NOAA funding supported the construction of an over-wintering pool and several vernal pools that help native organisms return to and thrive in the area. All of these projects and enhancements are helping return the damaged ecosystem to its natural state.

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NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program collaborates with other agencies, industry, and citizens to protect and restore coastal and marine resources threatened or injured by oil spills, releases of hazardous substances, and vessel groundings.

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