Plum Creek in southeast Cook County, IL experiences bank erosion, widening, sedimentation, and degradation of in-stream habitat from stormwater. Partners identified a section of the creek at Plum Creek Forest Preserve for restoration. The idea was to restore a 1,150-foot section using natural channel design – pulling back eroded banks, construction of bankfull benches, use of bank toe-wood for armoring, creation of rock-wood riffles and pools for in-stream habitat. The project received grant funds in 2013 for assessment, engineering design, permitting, and construction to be completed within two years. Many challenges occurred and most notable was a long, stop-and-start process of balancing site and design constraints with permitting hurdles from numerous agencies, while attempting to maintain an economically and ecologically viable project. Extensive and costly permitting coupled with ballooning cost eventually had us considering returning the grant money prior to successful construction at the last hour in late summer 2018.
Additional contributors: Aaron Feggestad, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. & Chip O’leary, Forest Preserves of Cook County