Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Kiss That Dam Goodbye

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

I assumed with the dry weather things would be moving right along at the Blackberry Creek Dam Removal site. I stopped by after work on Tuesday and my assumption proved to be correct.

But first, a word from our sponsor…

If that sign is still laying in that spot next week, it’s new home is going to be in my backyard.

Back to Tuesday. Rock along one shore was put in place all the way down and around the bend.

I always thought this stretch looked a little narrow. They were widening it considerably this day. I should have begged them to dump a truck full of this dirt at my house. It’s the good stuff.

I fought the urge to go back there every day. I wanted to see dramatic leaps in the amount of work getting done. It was a difficult urge to fight, but I succeeded. Stopped by again Friday evening and the dam was starting to be removed. A good sized chunk had been taken out of it.

The rock along that shore had also been put in place.

After running around all Saturday morning I finally got to the site early afternoon. More than half the dam was gone right down to the bedrock.

I ran into the site supervisor, whose name I keep forgetting to get. I had run into him before and we talked a bit about how the project was going. That’s him down in the creek.

If the rain holds off he thinks the creek will be flowing through here by the end of the week. It looks like this side of the dam is going to stay in place and match the slope of all the rock that has been put in.

The culvert that was put in on the west side to divert the flow of the creek is temporary. Once the creek is flowing again, this will be removed.

On Monday if everything goes right, this metal retaining wall be removed along with the rest of the old dam.

I went home and came back after quitting time, around 3 PM. The supervisor offered to let me go walking around on the creek bed while they were working, but I hate to be in the way of all that big construction equipment. Like the operators need me to get in the way.

The pond is no longer a pass through for the creek and is now a pond again. The lower bypass channel was completely filled in.

The same goes for the upper bypass.

It shouldn’t take long for the pond to refill. There’s a pipe that always has water flowing out of it that seems to come from the cemetery. I think it will fill the pond by next weekend.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from locals on whether or not the pond will be restocked. I’m assuming that’s part of the IDNR’s plan, but someone from the city of Yorkville should look into that. I’ve never heard it mentioned, just assumed it was part of the process.

The dry weather did a good job of drying up the creek bed. I’ve avoided walking on it so far because it looked like the mud would suck me down and not let go. I had mentioned to the site supervisor that when the water starts flowing through here again a lot of dirt is going to get washed down the creek. He said that as they back out of the creek they’ll be scraping the dirt away down to bedrock.

Right about where I’m standing in the next shot, right on the curve in the creek, they will be putting in another set of riffles, hopefully on Wednesday.

I wasn’t going to let the mud stop me from walking right up to the old dam.

I did grab a small chunk of it to take home for my collection of dam stuff I’ve found.

They’ve dug down right to bedrock. It’s hard to tell what’s going on here. The rock seems a little too big to have been placed here. I won’t know till they remove the rest of the dam, but it sure looks like a natural limestone ledge.

This wouldn’t surprise me. I live directly across the river and next to a ravine. Part way up the ravine is a small version of limestone steps that look like this.

I’ll know next week.

I stood on the edge where the old dam was. The view up the creek from there.

The view down the creek.

There’s not much left to be found laying around. Everything has been moved around, covered in dirt and rock, but I did come across this buried in the pond. Old milk glass. I asked the old lady in our house what she thought. She thinks it’s an old jar of probably hand lotion dating back to the 40’s. I’ll go along with that.

Even with all the equipment moving around all day, this bird refused to leave. It kept moving from one side of the pond to the other, always staying out of the way.

As much as we can use the rain, I’m hoping it holds off one more week. I’d like to see this done this week, then it can rain all it wants.

12 thoughts on “Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update, Kiss That Dam Goodbye

  1. bob

    one of the more fascinating stories I have floowed all year. no, in a number of years. superbly done. i hope, and am sure, you have some info you got from workers and supers that you didn’t include as they were casual conversation.

    i certainly hope fish use this place. insects too, amphibians, birds, fisher guys. will trees be planted close to the water’s edge to prevent heat build up in summer? no it isn’t a trout stream, but trees close to the water are a plus most times, period.

    i think it will be grand when all is done, all equipment gone, water flowing, quiet and all looks natural even though “new.” and you will get to sit on the bank, or stand in the middle of the stream and go, “yep. i was here when you were born.”

    1. Ken G Post author

      There are plans for cover along the shores Bob, but I have a feeling I won’t be living around here long enough to see it all mature. I think life will try to migrate up stream as soon as they feel the water coming down. I’ll be combing the up stream stretches all year to see how things progress. It’s always been in the back of my mind as part of this whole documentation.

      And yes, there are conversations with others that have not and probably will not get repeated. Some good, some bad toward the whole project. Better left alone.

      I am having fun with this whole thing and look forward to getting over there each week. The little boy in me that likes to see things destroyed and rebuilt.

  2. bob

    you will probably catch the first fish from here, as it should be…. but I wanna’ catch the second.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Been meaning to toss a line in the pool below the dam now, but I never seem to get to it. Other nearby creeks have been fishless, so I’ve assumed the same here.

      I’ll find out this week for sure…

      I’ll take you upstream with me, you’re going to like it considering where we’ll be.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Thanks Jim. I’m having a good time doing this. Ran into a guy out there a little while ago that’s been reading it every week. He loves it. It may be a small audience, but I’ll take it.

  3. Howard Levett

    As Bob stated, you have done a really good job of documenting this event. I hope you do catch the first fish Ken. And I look forward to seeing your museum pieces.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Just got back from fishing the pool below the FORMER dam and got my first smallie of the year. I was hoping that would happen. Pictures to follow…

      I wish I would have kept more of the things I found Howard, but I know my wife’s limits.

  4. RK Henderson

    Awesome photo essay! Awesome project, too! I love dams going out. (We’re doing it up here on the Elwha River. Very exciting.) That exposed rebar in the first photo looks like a modern sculpture comment on war; very poppy-like, eh? (But maybe that’s just a Canadian thing.)

    Really nice post, Ken!

    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

    1. Ken G Post author

      You can’t get rid of too many of them Robin. I agree on the rebar, they’re even bent like they’ve been wind blown. The fish are already waiting in the pool below for the water to come down the creek again. Amazing how they do that.

      Been remiss in leaving comments lately on a lot of blogs, but have been enjoying everything you put up. I need to find a few more minutes in every day. Severe shortage of them lately.

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