Busse Dam Modification Project – 2017 Update

Following flooding events in 2008, which significantly impacted Elk Grove Village, the Village spearheaded a project to improve flood relief capacities of the Busse Woods Reservoir, also known as Busse Lake. Construction of the Busse Dam modification project was completed and operational in March of 2016.

Dam Gates — Downstream

Dam Gates — Downstream

The dam modification consisted of the installation of two hinged gates, which allow for control of the outflow of the upstream reservoir, Busse Lake. During normal operating conditions, the gates will sit at the same elevation as the previous fixed weir dam that was modified as part of this project. The previous fixed weir dam was constructed in the 1970s as a joint project of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) now known as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The fixed weir dam that was installed was based on one single rain event. The modification to the dam, using hinged gates, was modeled on more than 150 rain events over 7 decades.

During a storm event, as the water surface elevation of the reservoir rises, the gates are lowered to ensure that the inflow into the reservoir is equal to the outflow. This allows the water level of the reservoir to remain constant. The constant water level in Busse Lake was crucial to the landowner, FPDCC, to help preserve the many sensitive ecological systems in and around the reservoir and to reduce shoreline erosion.

As the water surface elevation of Salt Creek rises downstream of the dam, the gates then rise to store floodwater within Busse Lake. As the storm event subsides, or the reservoir reaches a critical elevation as determined by ecological studies, the gates are then lowered back down to the normal operating elevation. This operating scheme allows the gates to dynamically adjust to each unique rainfall event and maximize storage within the reservoir. The modification project will help to alleviate flooding, not only in Elk Grove Village, but in downstream communities along Salt Creek as well.

Realizing the regional scale of the dam modification project, Elk Grove Village, along with their consultant, collaborated with DuPage County to model the downstream watershed, optimizing the existing flood control facilities operational procedures with the functioning Busse Dam modification. These Model results have provided DuPage County with additional flexibility on how/when to operate their flood control structures and provide an even greater level of flood protection to residents of DuPage County along Salt Creek.

Dam Gates — Upstream

Dam Gates — Upstream

Prior to the project, Elk Grove Village experienced repeated flooding at two major intersections which caused street closures lasting 24 to 48 hours. These closures resulted in major disruptions to residents, as well as to employees and trucks traveling to and from the Elk Grove Business Park, the largest consolidated business park in North America. In addition, the flooding caused closures of three schools and two churches, left hundreds of residents either stranded or unable to access their homes, and cancelled the Village’s 2008 Rotary Festival and Parade.

Since the completion of construction on the project in March of 2016, the Village has experienced at least two rainfall events that would have caused street flooding and intersection closures. The gate operations at the dam successfully mitigated these events with NO on-street flooding.

Ronald R. Raphael, P.E.
Engineering Supervisor
Village of Elk Grove Village | Community Development Department
901 Wellington Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

 

Year-End Review 2016

During 2016 the Salt Creek Watershed Network (SCWN) achieved two major goals of its mission statement.  First, it provided several educational services to the public.  Second, through its very successful cleanup projects, SCWN promoted a higher sense of the value of Salt Creek and Addison Creek.

Riverside-Brookfield High School students proudly display trash collected at one Addison Creek site.

Riverside-Brookfield High School students proudly display trash collected at one Addison Creek site.

The year began by welcoming a local landscaper who discussed the causes of back yard flooding with area residents and offered various ways to solve those problems.  Later, in an attempt to make our youth aware of the nature around them and the need for a clean environment, children who helped in the late April cleanup took part in most interesting presentations involving fish found in the creek, local reptiles, and identification of bones that may have been found during the cleanup.  Later, in September, SCWN provided an information booth at the Meet the Creek event held in Brookfield.  In addition, SCWN is developing a map that highlights the creek as a valuable recreational resource.

A truckload of trash removed from Salt Creek in Wood Dale

A truckload of trash removed from Salt Creek in Wood Dale

The crowning achievements of the year, however, were three creek cleanups. With the help of student volunteers from Riverside-Brookfield High School, SCWN removed large amounts of trash from the portion of Salt Creek between I-94 and 17th Ave. in North Riverside as well as from the southern part of Addison Creek through an industrial park in Broadview.  Volunteers working with SCWN at two other cleanups along Salt Creek, one in Elk Grove Village and the other in Wood Dale, also deserve much credit.  Large amounts of trash were collected in all three areas making those events both successful and rewarding.

The mission is never fully accomplished, but if SCWN can either match or exceed this year’s efforts, the Salt Creek Watershed in 2017 will become a better place for both people and nature.  And that surely is our ultimate goal.

Philip Wille
Salt Creek Watershed Network

 

Elk Grove Village Cleanup 2016

The function of Busse Dam is to regulate water levels on Salt Creek at all times so that when heavy rains occur, flooding can be alleviated.  With this in mind, a few days before the cleanup date Elk Grove Village officials contacted Busse Dam authorities to ensure that the dam would not release water while volunteers were in the creek.  Being in the middle of a stream with rising water is not good.

The day started with a little drizzle but the scouts from troops 95 and 41007 were on hand along with two other adults for the 34th cleanup in 22 years.  Seven scouts walked in the creek and picked up what little they could find. The two ladies on land probably found more trash along the banks than those in the water.  Because so little trash was found in the section of the creek we covered, the scoutmaster suggested that next year we should concentrate on a section of the creek further south, namely between Clearmont Drive and Devon Avenue, which has received little cleanup attention in the past.

The good news is that we are not finding as much trash as before.  And that means we can extend our efforts to new areas.

Nick Nikola

Busse Dam Modification Project

Construction Work — Oct. 2015

Construction Work — Oct. 2015

The Busse Dam modification project will help alleviate flooding in both Cook and DuPage Counties. Elk Grove Village as well as the many communities downstream along Salt Creek will benefit from the reduction in flooding. The project may benefit upwards of one million people who are currently affected when flooding damages property and closes critical intersections. The disruptions during a flood event can cost our region millions in lost commerce and social impacts, such as school closures, church closures and residents unable to access their homes. 

“This project is the culmination of nearly eight years of multi-agency collaboration, engineering studies, modeling, and design work.” said Mayor Craig B. Johnson, “We are excited to be on the cusp of bringing the flood relief sought by Elk Grove Village and communities in the Salt Creek Watershed since the Dam’s original construction in the 1970s.” 

The Busse Woods Reservoir was constructed in 1975 as a joint project of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide flood mitigation downstream along Salt Creek in Elk Grove Village. 

The construction of the Dam created what is now called Busse Lake. The lake serves as a significant recreational amenity of the Forest Preserve District for boating and fishing.  

Busse Woods itself contains several sensitive ecological systems that will benefit from the Dam modification. Following floods in 2008, which significantly impacted Elk Grove Village, the Village revived interest in making the reservoir function better for flood relief purposes while also improving the ecology of the Forest Preserve. At that time, the Village worked closely with the Friends of the Forest Preserves who creatively designed the Dam modification proposal that is nearing construction.

Moreover, the Village worked closely with many governmental entities. Mayor Johnson noted that: 

“This project could not have come to fruition without the assistance of many people. We especially want to thank “Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, DuPage County Board Chairman, Dan Cronin, General Superintendent of Forest Preserves of Cook County, Arnold Randall, and MWRD of Greater Chicago Executive Director, David St. Pierre, along with many neighboring Mayors and the staff of many Federal, State, and local governmental agencies. Everyone worked together as a team. We all understood the regional benefits of reducing flooding through this project and the ecological improvements associated with the project as well.” 

The Busse Dam modification project consists of two hinged gates, which allow for control of the outflow of the reservoir. During normal operating conditions, the top of the proposed gates will sit at the current fixed weir elevation. During a storm event, as the water surface elevation of Busse Reservoir increases, the gates would be slightly lowered to ensure that the inflow into the reservoir is equal to the outflow, allowing the normal water level of the reservoir to remain constant. As the water surface elevation of Salt Creek downstream rises and maximizes flow within the creek without overbank flooding, the gates would then rise to store floodwater within Busse Lake. As the storm event subsides, or the reservoir reaches a critical elevation as determined by ecological studies, the gates would be lowered back down to the normal operating elevation, allowing the gates to dynamically adjust to each unique rainfall event and maximize storage within the reservoir. 

Elk Grove Village engineers modeled 158 historic rain storm events over the past 7 decades, in which 37 events caused severe, damaging flooding. If the gates had been operational, only 17 events would have resulted in minor flooding downstream, and only a few in damaging flooding.  Benefits for the threatened and endangered species within Busse Woods Forest Preserve are even greater: In all 37 flood events, the gates would have reduced both the severity (depth) of the flooding and the duration of flooding by cutting the flood inundation hours above critical elevations within the preserve in half.

Additional modeling has been performed to optimize the Busse Woods Dam Modification in coordination with downstream flood control structures in DuPage County.  Model results will provide DuPage County with additional flexibility on how/when to operate their flood control structures and provide an even greater level of flood protection to residents of DuPage County along Salt Creek.

Village Staff
Elk Grove Village

Meet the Creek 2015

On Sat Sept 19, 2015 the Brookfield Conservation Commission celebrated their annual festival 'Meet the Creek' along the banks of Salt Creek at Kiwanis Park in Brookfield. This was a free event open to the public and all ages. Special guests included members from the Chicago Herpetological Society which had a chance to show off some of their amazing reptiles. Snakes ranging from a few inches to 10 feet long were put on display without a sign that said "Do Not Touch". The reptiles were friendly and able to interact and play with the children. Imagine the look of a startled parent when their 6 yr old daughter walked up with a full grown Corn snake draped over her shoulders and around her neck and says, "Hey…look at me mom!"  Also on hand was a turtle play pen where kids could get down and play with box turtles and painted turtles. One creature that was kept at a safe distance from the little fingers was a massive Snapper turtle which had a shell the size of a medium pizza, now that guy came with a sign that read —"Do Not Go Near". 

Amy and Steve Sullivan, Conservation board members and nature lovers, were in charge of the event. Steve got up early Saturday morning, cast a net into the creek and caught several dozen fish of different species which he put in a big tank. During the day he explained how you can tell how healthy salt creek is by studying the fish and how important it is to keep the rivers and creeks clean. 

The weather was perfect for the festival but, unfortunately, the heavy rains that fell the night before had Salt Creek at flood stage. The free canoe rides, a big part of the event, had to be cancelled. This was a bit disappointing to many of the parents and children but the face painting booth and nature treasure hunt kept them occupied and interested. Overall, the day was a huge success and Amy & Steve assured us they would be back next year along with the snakes, turtles and canoes.

Tom Longo

SCWN Map Project

SCWN needs your expertise to finalize our latest project.   As a leading information source for all things about Salt Creek, our group has the opportunity to create an informational map, highlighting all of the recreational access areas along the creek.  This map would be used by outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to bike, hike, or access the creek itself using watercraft.   The map would be available for sale via the SCWN web site and at other locations such as outdoor retail outlets.  

The map would create a permanent funding mechanism for SCWN, allowing us to continue to provide information and programs for the benefit of the creek.  

We are in need of interested parties that would form a committee to work toward that goal.  We have already enlisted the services of an environmental consulting company that will create the map, once we gathered all the necessary data.  We also have a graphics designer who has showed interest in creating the overall design.  What we are missing is YOU.  Once we get enough interested people we will hold an informational meeting to determine how to proceed.

If you are interested in working on some phase of this project please contact Stan Zarnowiecki at 708-606-4148 or shotawisky@yahoo.com.

Stan Zarnowiecki, Secretary

Salt Creek Watershed Network

2015 Elk Grove Village Cleanup

It was a great day for the 21st annual Elk Grove Village Salt Creek clean up. There were just over two dozen volunteers, the majority from Christus Victor Boy Scout Troop 95, three CERT members, several local residents and at least one non-resident.  Together they collected about one cubic yard of trash from in and along the Salt Creek.  As you can see from the attached pictures a thorough effort was given by all the volunteers.  Most all of the trash collected on land was deposited in area garbage cans and the items collected from the actual creek bed were left in a pile for the Village public works department to pick up.  Not long after, a scrap recycler happened by and picked all the metals out of the pile.

Since starting in 1995, the improvement in the cleanliness along the creek is phenomenal.  Every year less and less man-made trash is removed.  It is truly heart warming to see that so many care enough to make a difference by volunteering to help clean up our local environment.  An enormous thank you to all involved with this effort. Sincerely,

Nick Nikola

Eagle Scout Project

I grew up biking on the Salt Creek Trail and canoeing on Salt Creek, so the creek has always been a part of my life.  Canoeing was always fun, and removing trash from the creek as we went along was something my dad and I would try to do whenever we went out on a trip.  Eventually I became aware of what Salt Creek Watershed Network was doing to clean up along the banks of the creek, but I wondered about removing trash from the water itself.

When the time came to work on my Eagle Scout project which was needed to earn my Eagle Badge, it seemed natural to select one involving Salt Creek.  I wanted people to become aware of the importance of a clean environment as well as to draw attention to organizations such as Salt Creek Watershed Network which are working toward that goal.  One phase of the project involved organizing 14 boys in canoes and kayaks who cleaned garbage from the creek on a beautiful day in September.  It turned into an incredible cleanup experience and I fully thank those who participated and the Salt Creek Watershed Network for its support.

 

Eagle Scout Ben Longo

Cleanup Thank You

Friends of SCWN,

The SCWN board and I wish to express our thanks for the hardy response on a cold, rainy day to what turned out to be a very successful cleanup last Saturday. Through the efforts of 41 adult volunteers and an additional 43 young people, close to 100 bags were filled with trash and great amounts of junk and debris were pulled from the banks and flood plains of lower Salt and Addison creeks.  

Our goals could not have been accomplished without your help and the help of groups such as Girl Scout Troop 40818 and volunteer students from Riverside-Brookfield High School.  The support of the Slivovsky family who identified small mammal bones; Roger Klocek and the Huff and Huff staff who provided exhibits concerning marine life in the creek; Steve Sullivan, curator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, for the identification and observation of fish he caught in the creek on site the morning of the cleanup; and Jim and Linda Huff who provided an excellent picnic lunch insuring the success of this year’s cleanup.

We hope you had a good experience and that you will consider joining us again in the future.  See our website for a list of events.  Any suggestions or comments for improving next year’s event are welcome.  Just click here to contact Ron Hursh.

Gratefully,

Nick Nikola, Pres.

Eagle Scout Awareness Project

Hello, my name is Ben Longo, I am a Boy Scout from Troop 14 in Lagrange. Thank you for looking up the Salt Creek Watershed Network website. If you saw my sign on the Salt Creek Trail you have seen an inspiration I have had for many years now. I love the bike path and many people don’t know that the creek is available to paddle on. I encourage you to borrow, rent, or even purchase a kayak or canoe to use on such a beautiful creek that is right in our back yard. My Eagle project has two parts. The first is promoting the use of the creek in the community, its easy, and fun for everyone. And the second part of my project is to plan, organize, and execute a Salt Creek clean up at the end of September 2014 using canoes and kayaks with my Boy Scout Troop.

If you are interested in paddling on the creek I recommend starting at the Bemis Woods North put-in (South of 31st Street off of Wolf Road) and ending at the 26th Street Put-out. Its only a three mile trip and should take approximately two hours to do. Thank you so much for supporting my eagle project and if you go on the creek, email me your story or even pictures of your trip at blongo13@hotmail.com and tell me how it went!

Thank you!