Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Prep Work and Still More Prep Work

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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Last week I went out to the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal site, took a few pictures and couldn’t think of anything to write about them. There was nothing to compare the pictures to. For the past two weeks I could hear a lot work being done on the other side of the river, but weekday visits showed they were just moving things around, doing the prep work.

When you dig a big hole and a long trench in order to put in a big standpipe and a culvert, a lot of dirt needs to be removed. That is apparently what they were moving around all week.

Back at the dam, it sure looks like the water is digging into the old rock that makes up the dam and removing the loose ones. The cut in the dam looks to be a foot deeper. If they don’t do anything, maybe in 100 years the water will do all the work for them.

A little upstream from the dam, they’ve removed all the vegetation from the west shore and a bucket is sitting poised and ready to start digging. The sediment has to be almost eight feet deep at that point.

I want one of these. I can stand inside this bucket, not that I did…, and still have over a foot of free space over my head. No wonder they can clear out all that sediment so quickly. I need to borrow this for my garden.

Last week the bypass channel that feeds the creek into the pond looked like this.

This week the culverts and pipe are gone. I would imagine the next step here is to fill this back in with dirt and cut the pond off from the creek.

They are building another bypass channel and last week they were getting ready to do something.

A couple of concrete culverts were sitting off to the side.

The culverts and a piece of pipe were dropped into place. This gives them road and shore access to the next stretch of the creek that needs to be dredged.

They have their work cut out for them. The sediment in this spot alone has to be almost six feet thick and sloping down to almost ten feet thick just behind the dam.

I was a little surprised at this. Yes it says Danger Construction Area Keep Out. Yes, I’m careful, but I’ll bet I don’t get any of the benefits if I screw up.

Despite all the work going on, wildlife continues to wander around all the work and construction equipment. Rabbit and squirrel tracks were seen everywhere. The geese and deer are practically walking on top of each other.

I have no clue what this is, it’s hard to make out.

There were quite a few of these tracks going back and forth to a downed tree that was laying across the creek. I’m going to guess a muskrat. I see enough of those out on the river.

There are four bald eagles hanging out in this area, I see them every day. Two adults and two juveniles. Once you get used to what to look for, they’re hard to miss. Go back to the top photo. A trained eye would have seen the bald eagle in the background just above the larger dirt pile on the left.

Yeah, I know, I need a better camera.

8 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Prep Work and Still More Prep Work

  1. walt

    There’s a lot of work going on with this dam thing, or the appearance of a lot. The wildlife keeps checking on the progress, too. Yeah, I guessed muskrat for the one track. If you use the big shovel for your garden space, smoke a cigar, but be careful!

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’ve always liked big toys like that Walt. Guy thing I’m sure. They have to start dredging again soon, what else is there to do? Like I have a clue.

  2. Jim McClellan

    I had to blow that picture up to about double its size to see that eagle! Good eye. By the way, you ought to get an honorary engineering degree after this project. This has been a very interesting process to watch. Thanks for the updates.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I studied architecture for my first three years of college Jim. Basically three years of engineering classes plus my focus was on land planning. These kinds of projects where lots of land is being moved around with big machines has always fascinated me.

      The bald eagles are the size of a good squirrels nest. The trick to spotting them is… squirrel nests don’t move.

  3. Ken G Post author

    You wouldn’t believe how much I delete as I go Howard. I’m trying real hard to keep this as informative as possible without my usual nonsense. I crack myself up sometimes.

  4. Stever

    the united city of yorkville sent me this link. i would like to know will this project let more fish in the pond or lose fish from the pond. as i fish here

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’m not a biologist, more of an observer, but it’s taught me a lot about how fish behave.

      Since they were using the pond as a pass through for the creek we won’t know if more fish came in or left till they turn it back into a pond. I did see carp and minnows moving in and out of it from the creek, I would imagine other fish have too. The creek has a fair population of largemouth and now and then a smallmouth, so you never know.

      We won’t know till guys start fishing it come spring. Since you do, I’d be interested to hear what you start running into. Keep in touch if you can with a fishing report now and then. My goal is to keep documenting fish migrations up the creek for another year or two, so anything you can send about the pond would be helpful.

      I didn’t know that the City was paying attention to what I’ve been doing. I’ll make sure I write about what you mention and maybe we can get a shocking survey done by the IDNR. I’ll find out from the IDNR too if they have any plans to restock the pond when the project is done. I hear the drought last year had already affected the pond and I noticed the same thing on some other ponds that I fish.

      Thanks for bringing this up. I think it’s important too.

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