To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
From my vantage point on the south side of the Fox River, I could see that there was heavy construction equipment moving around by the Blackberry Creek Dam. Of course this meant that after the work day ended I would have to go check out what was going on.
Sure enough, the removal of the dam has started. A decent sized notch was cut into the west end of the dam.
What I thought was concrete behind the dam is actually a cap that must have been added at one time. I didn’t get a picture of the back of the dam yet, but you could see it was solid stone.
As I was taking pictures, a woman showed up to do the same. Not being much of a reporter or journalist, I failed to get her name. My now anonymous source said she worked for the City of Yorkville. Of course, that was an open invitation in my eyes to ask all kinds of questions, as well as make my usual semi informed comments.
Apparently this section of the creek is going to get drained. This will be accomplished by creating a diversion channel further west. Years ago I had seen plans that was to move this last stretch of the creek further west. I’m assuming the diversion channel will be going in that same spot. I hope to get a picture of that when it happens.
Once the pool of the dam is drained, the built up sediment behind it will be removed and then the dam. Then there will be rocks put in place to stair step the flow of water down the creek. I compared it to what was done on Waubonsie Creek in Oswego when a dam on that creek blew out years ago. She said that’s exactly what will be done.
I hope here on Blackberry Creek they put in shorter steps of boulders. I never did like how high the ones are on Waubonsie Creek. The water is slowly knocking down some of the boulders on that creek so I imagine eventually it will level out. Water tends to do that.
I didn’t ask a time estimate, a lot of that could be determined by the weather, but I could easily see this all getting done relatively quickly. Maybe the comment I made about going miles upstream in the fall to see if the fish have migrated that far might become a reality.
Now that there is no water coming over the dam, a couple of interesting things could be seen. The dam had been patched once before. It looks to be a four foot square concrete plug that was put in place.
One of the concerns raised about not taking out the dam brought up what would happen if the dam failed at a later date. It could damage the new bridge that was going to be put in place. On the east end of the dam, there was water coming through the face of the dam. It might take years, but I would think that’s a failure waiting to happen.
I enjoy seeing the breach in the dam. A tremendous amount of water is pouring through a gap about 5 feet wide. Once the concrete cap is removed, I don’t think it’s going to take much to pull the stones apart and the dam should go away quickly.
About a quarter mile up stream from where the dam now sits is a park. I’ve walked around in the creek just off the park. You can bet once the dam is gone I’ll be walking this stretch.
Something to look forward to later in the year.