March 2012 » Departments
Converting a degraded aggregate mine into a community asset
Eroding slopes of a former aggregate mine were converted into a series of eight terraced wetlands to retain and filter stormwater onsite.

The Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary is a 239-acre area located in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, Kane County, Ill. The value of the site, purchased by Dundee Township in 2000, originally was compromised because of historic aggregate mining activities. Impacts included eroding slopes along the perimeters of the site and sheet, rill, and gully erosion throughout the area. Soil-stabilizing vegetative cover was lacking because of the lack of organic topsoil. Water quality impacts – siltation, sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, and habitat degradation – extended from three onsite ponds to nearby Jelke Creek, as well as downstream to the Fox River.

In 2007, Dundee Township prepared a reclamation plan with engineering assistance from Living Waters Consultants Inc. The plan took advantage of the site's permeable soils, aggregate stockpiles, limited topsoil stockpiles, ponded areas, as well as proposed wetlands. Through re-grading of slopes and stabilization of stockpiles, berms, and spoil piles, more than 84 acres of the project site now retain and infiltrate runoff from the sub-watershed through the 100-year, 24-hour rainfall recurrence interval. Runoff retention occurs through absorption by native plants, infiltration within extensive onsite coarse aggregate soils, establishment of deep-rooted native plants, enhancement of existing ponds and wetlands to provide pollutant filtration and increased infiltration, and construction of new basins and wetlands to maximize runoff retention.

Find this web-exclusive article and others with the March 2012 issue of CE News.

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