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DuPage Stream Research Center

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From the Daily Herald, July 1st issue:


It didn't take long for the DuPage County Forest Preserve to find a use for the recently purchased 40-acre Cenacle property in Warrenville.


The board is expected to vote today whether to build an urban stream research center at the northeast corner of the property with a $2.9 million grant received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The facility would be built adjacent to the Blackwell Forest Preserve, near the archery range.


Some commissioners wanted more information on why the former retreat house couldn't be used as the center's main facility, but forest preserve staff said retrofitting the elderly existing building could be more expensive than starting from scratch.


"This is a building that has very specific requirements for a laboratory and research," said Andrea Hoyt, the district's director of planning. "To go from private to public with the existing building you have to throw in many changes in terms of code compliance and accessibility."


She said there's no telling what issues would arise while trying to rehab the existing building.


"You put that all under the umbrella of what situations will be unearthed," Hoyt said.


Initially, commissioners had intended to build the facility at Warrenville Grove Forest Preserve, but the Cenacle property jumped to the head of the list because of its proximity to two county tributaries - the West Branch of the DuPage River and Springbrook Creek.


The facility will be used to reintroduce lost species of fish and mussels back into the waterways, said the district's natural resources director Ole Oldenburg.


These parts of the waterways were once home to 41 fish species and 19 mussel species. Now, there are only five mussel species and 23 different kinds of fish, Oldenburg added.


"We have some working theories as to what happened, but we think it's largely related to water quality," he said. "Much of the loss occurred before the passing of the Clean Water Act, and it caused the local deaths of whole groups of species."


The board meets at 9 a.m. today to vote on the measure and will also decided whether to allocate $230,000 to help pay for utilities at the site.



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