Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, So That’s What all the Noise Was

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.

If there’s a benefit to sitting around waiting to be called back to work, it’s being around the neighborhood to see what’s happening on a daily basis.

From my front porch I can see through the trees, across the Fox River and to the ridge on the opposite side. All week I could see heavy construction equipment moving around by the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal project. It also involves replacing the deteriorating bridge, but that’s not anywhere near as exciting to me.

I fight the urge to go look at the project more frequently. I don’t want to see baby steps being accomplished, so on the weekends I go wander around the construction site. Last week, every day, I could hear a lot of banging around going on.

They’ve started to put in the rock along the shores that will keep the shores from eroding.

This same rock was put in along the shores of Waubonsie Creek in Oswego. Bitch to walk on, but not impossible. I’ll always find a way down to fish a creek. I know the ways here already. Explored them all years ago.

The way they’re layering everything is interesting.

The edges look extremely man made at the moment, but over the next few years the edges should get softened a bit as running water does what it wants with it.

I had sent off my observations to date to a few people I know that are managing the project. I questioned the necessity of building the midstream riffles right away and whether they can wait.

The response let me know that the project has a March deadline and so far it looks like they’re going to make it. As for the riffles, he reiterated the stream bank erosion issues that come into play. I still question that. The creek was here for a few thousand years before man decided to put a dam across it. Stream bank erosion is always an issue. Walk around any creek or river to see that. It’s part of the natural process. I would prefer to see what mother nature does, but I seem to be alone in that viewpoint.

They are moving along with one set of the riffles.

Looks like it’s going to create a pool about three feet deep. I’ve seen this creek at flood stage and I’m sure it won’t take too many years for this to get knocked down a bit. The way it’s being built though pretty much eliminates wading down the middle of the creek. The rock they’re putting in is brutal to walk on and even if the water does knock the height down a bit, I can’t recommend walking on it.

Which is fine. It’s only about a quarter mile stretch of the creek. I have some vague notes that Blackberry Creek is 26 miles long. As long as the fish are migrating around all these rocks and heading upstream, I’ll be happy. Years ago I marked spots on a map all along this creek. I knew eventually that dam would be coming out.

Somebody has to go do the research to see how far upstream the fish are migrating.

12 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, So That’s What all the Noise Was

    1. Ken G Post author

      Jim, this is right next to a small city park, so it will be easily accessible. Then it gets tougher. When they’re done I think you’d have to be suicidal to try to go from here to the mouth of the creek. Who knows what kind of debris will be left over when the dam comes out. There will always be a small stretch I’m going to avoid. I’m getting too old for some of this.

  1. bob

    humans always overbuild whether building something up, tearing something down, or rebuilding something they built up that meesed thing up in the first place. it should be interesting period what the river does, what the fish do, how it fishes. if we ever get high water after hard freezes that pushes ice around, that will be most interesting.

    I wanna bring my Tenkara rod to this creek and catch some of the second group of fish from it (i don’t care what they are). you’ll catch the first.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Bob, I have a picture of you from years ago fishing this little creek, holding up a little walleye. Who knows what’s going to be migrating up this way. Could be anything.

      The only way to this spot from down stream will have to be done by wading across the Fox. There will be no other way to get there that I know. Will definitely be interesting to see what this looks like in 10 years.

  2. bob

    I like what you did with the processing of the sky in the lower pictures. it matches more what the eye can see, but the camera can’t capture all at once with its sensors. Most won’t notice, but it looks quite natural and appealing to those of us who do

    1. Ken G Post author

      For pictures like this that I don’t want to play with much, I have an automated thing set up that kicks up the contrast and color just a bit to make it more like what I saw. For the better shots, I go even further. They’re pretty bland if I do nothing to them and it’s definitely not what I remember seeing.

    1. Ken G Post author

      The noise coming from the other side of the river on Monday was constant and loud. The crumbling bridge attached to the dam still has to come down and be rebuilt. Fighting the urge to go look.

        1. Ken G Post author

          At least this small stretch of it. I’ll leave the the challenge to those with younger, stronger feet and legs. I’ve learned my limits, the hard way.

  3. Case

    It’s to bad they did a restoration using riprap like that. There are ways to do a natural channel restoration that is much better for the fish and human access. Typical of big engineering firm that doesn’t really know much about streams. The methods they are using do not mimic nature. The riprap placed on the banks like that will cause significant erosion of the banks.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I agree Case and I brought that up at the meeting. Another dam came out on the Des Plaines River last year and they did pretty much the same thing. I’m sure it has something to do with expediency, but really, what’s the hurry. I will concede that in a 2200 foot stretch it goes from zero to eight feet of sediment, but there still had to be a better way.

      Another dam on the Fox was slated to be removed years ago. It was breached naturally and over two years the upstream side looked pretty damn good on it’s own. When they finally got around to removing the rest of the dam, there was virtually nothing to do upstream.

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