Body Of Water Affected Title Description

DuPage River, West Branch

Posted 04/30/2011
Thorium Cleanup - Summer 2011 Warrenville Reach, Blackwell to McDowell Forest Preserves

4/26/11 - The river is currently accessible and free of obstructions from the Mack Road canoe launch at Blackwell through to McDowell Grove, although a floating silt barrier is still in place below the Butterfield Road bridge. Of course, a portage (right) is still required at Warrenville Grove Dam, but paddlers continuing through can see the results of last season's thorium clean-up and river restoration. The dam has been notched left of center so water no longer flows over the low-head dam.
The water level of the backwater upstream has been lowered about a foot, but excavation and contouring of the stream bed have created a deep channel for boaters, and the former mud flats of the pond are being established as quality marsh and wetlands. Landscape work continues this season. The Warrenville Grove parking area will remain closed, as it will again be taken over by construction crews.

According to EPA sources, work is scheduled to begin June 6, 2011 on the next phase of the thorium clean-up, and will be ongoing through the summer. The clean-up work will be done by isolating contaminated areas on the banks with metal sheetpiling,
pumping the areas dry, and excavating material for safe removal. The river will be allowed to flow through, but access will be denied during the work season. The clean-up is expected to stop short of the McDowell Grove backwaters, ending just
south of I-88. The final phase including McDowell Grove will be scheduled for work when funding is secured.
During the work, this reach of the West Branch will effectively be closed to boat traffic from Warrenville Grove to McDowell Grove. Public access points with parking will be limited to a take-out at Mack Road and put-in at McDowell.

Ray Ziemer
Reach Steward

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