Blackberry Creek Dam Removal

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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The following article on the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal and the fixing of the River Road bridge ran on February 20th in Aurora’s Beacon News.

Yorkville alderman opposed to removing Blackberry Creek dam

On February 16th, the Kendall County Record had already written an article about this vote. I can’t link to it because the KCR website doesn’t keep links up to past articles. I also threw away the paper version.

From what I remember of the KCR article, there was no mention made about the Yorkville Bristol Sanitary District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources need for a local partner on the project. I recall that the article made mention of all the reasons why the Yorkville City Council turned down the IDNRs offer; didn’t want to spend any money on the project was one, local sentiment against dam removal was another. It must have pissed me off enough to put the following on Facebook that evening.

The IDNR offered to pay the entire $1.7 million cost to remove the 175 year old, totally useless dam on Blackberry Creek, which sits about a quarter mile up from the Fox River. The dam is attached to a bridge abutment that needs to be repaired. It sure looks to me that it’s the water coming over the dam that washed out the footing that made the bridge abutment collapse. The bridge has been shut down for almost a year.

The Yorkville City Council voted 7-1 to turn down the IDNR offer. Idiots. The water coming over the dam will again wash out the footing of the bridge over time. If the dam ever collapses on it’s own, it will probably damage the new bridge. It’s also simple biology, fish use creeks for spawning, they make runs up the creeks that flow into the Fox every spring. This dam has been blocking that for 175 years. Getting rid of the dam would be good for the new bridge, Blackberry Creek and the Fox River. I didn’t vote for either of the two Council members from my ward and I might just get off my ass to see that they get defeated next time.

Since then, the Kendall County Record has reported on the progress being made in getting the Yorkville City Council to go along with the removal and how the Yorkville Bristol Sanitary District has agreed to sign on as the partner that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources needs. Hopefully these links to the articles will stay live, not sure with the KCR website. I have the articles saved if the links die and anyone wants to read them.

Sanitary District Considers Removal of Dam

Sanitary District will work with IDNR on Dam

10 or so years ago I used to fish under this bridge and along the wall of that abutment. There was a nice deep hole that ran along the footing. I remember thinking that wasn’t a good thing, but I assumed it was known about, bridges are supposed to get inspected. I took advantage of it since the hole was always good for a couple of smallmouth bass.

This is what the dam and bridge abutment looked like in June of 2011 at high water.

February of this year I went back to take another picture of the abutment without the high water in the way.

Last week there were no further articles about the project. I live directly across the Fox River from the mouth of Blackberry Creek. On a walk along the river over the weekend, I could see heavy construction equipment on the other side of the river near the closed bridge. I knew there was mention of a March 18th deadline so construction can begin, so I wandered over to the bridge and the dam. There is definitely something beginning to happen.

Trees have been cleared to allow construction equipment to get closer to the dam.

It shouldn’t take much to remove it considering how close they’re going to be able to get to the dam.

You can’t tell from any of the photos, but the face of the dam is made up of larger versions of the same stone that makes up the cracked bridge abutment. I thought I saw at low water once that there was concrete behind the stone. It will be interesting to watch how they pull the dam apart. I’m assuming this will all be done by summer.

Towards the end of summer and into early fall, I’ve always noticed that fish make a run up the creeks from the Fox River. On my creek fishing maps, I have all of the forest preserves and parks marked for over 10 miles of Blackberry Creek. Checked out quite a few of these access points over the past 12 years.

Somebody has to go see if the fish are moving up Blackberry Creek for the first time in 175 years. I wonder if I can get a grant from the IDNR to help defray the costs on this kind of research.

7 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal

  1. Ken G Post author

    Found out over the weekend there was another one like this on another nearby creek. Aerial photos now show that half of it is gone. Not sure if that was mother nature or man that took out that half. This one was buried in the woods surrounded by private property. Makes you wonder how many more are out there.

  2. bob

    happy to see a dam being removed on a small creek. it will make things more natural, and improve fishing and many other issues of flooding and such. slowly, slowly, we may be learning.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I have a picture of you from years ago just down stream from this dam. We were catching little walleye that had been stocked below Yorkville. Now up stream I catch panfish and largemouth. Will be interesting what and how soon things head up stream.

    1. Ken G Post author

      175 years really pushed the limit on this one. I wonder if it might be the oldest one in the area. You have to hear the arguments around here. Remembering hanging out there when they were a kid, caught their first fish near it, it looks pretty. Reason, at that point, flies out the window.

  3. Pingback: Blackberry Creek Dam Removal — Day One |

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