Salt Creek master plan is right thing

When the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Board meets Tuesday to vote on the Master Plan for Salt Creek at Fullersburg Woods, its commissioners should keep the environment, public opinion and taxpayers in mind. Approving the plan is the right move on all three counts.

The Master Plan for Salt Creek, at its core, is about cost-effectively meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency monitors waterways’ compliance with the law and has long listed Salt Creek as “impaired” due to a lack of fish and insects and low dissolved oxygen levels. Years of research have pinpointed the dam at Fullersburg Woods near the Graue Mill as a major cause of these issues.

Rather than pursue wastewater treatment changes that would cost upward of $200 million, the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup, comprising dozens of municipalities and publicly owned treatment works, carefully created the master plan, a more effective solution that will add no additional costs to DuPage County taxpayers. The plan was developed over years of scientific study and extensive community engagement.

The plan would replace an environmentally detrimental dam with a visually pleasing rock riffle, restore stream banks with native vegetation and add new ways for people to paddle, fish and explore nature at Fullersburg Woods. The plan achieves these important goals while honoring the history of Graue Mill. The changes were discussed in detail during recent public meetings, with more than 90 percent of public comments supporting the proposal.

Public agencies have a responsibility to meet water quality regulations, improve our communities and conserve public funds. That’s why I support the Master Plan for Salt Creek at Fullersburg Woods. It’s the right thing to do and I hope our Forest Preserve Commissioners agree.

Steven M. Morley, Mayor

City of Elmhurst

This letter was published in the Daily Herald on October 3rd, 2020.

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This site provides information on the restoration efforts taking place at Graue Mill Dam, including opportunities for the public to engage with the project team.

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