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Wetland in Meadowbrook Park increases water quality and promotes wildlife

Douglas Creek water is flowing cleaner these days thanks to a several-year project by Urbana Park District.

The project at the southeastern park of Meadowbrook Park restored Douglas Creek and added a wetland which did not previously exist.

“Douglas Creek takes water from field drainage and subdivision runoff,” said Kara Dudek, Park Planner. “Unfortunately, invasives blocking the creek bed and low-quality habitat didn’t filter nutrient rich water and also caused farm flooding.”

The restoration project involved removing invasive growth, grading the banks, adding a new wetland, construction of three rock riffles (habitat and water conveyance), and new tree, shrub and plant plug installations.

“We also got help from the park district’s Natural Areas Advisory Committee, local landowners and Living Waters Consultants, Inc.,” Dudek added.

Urbana Park District Commissioner Roger Digges conducted some water tests after the project finished. The mean for the 14 measures showed a decrease of 11.8% between nitrogen levels between water entering and leaving the wetland. The median decrease was 6.1%.

In a message to the Park District, Digges wrote, “I think we can agree that the wetland community consistently reduced the amount of suspended nitrogen entering from the tile and exiting into the stream.”

The restoration is now in its third year and Dudek says the project is a resounding success.

“Even with our wet spring, flooding issues were substantially reduced from pre-project years. The water is cleaner and the wetland and native plantings along the creek are great for wildlife lovers,” Dudek said.

“We hope that when people are hiking Meadowbrook Park they take a moment to admire the restored Douglas Creek and wetland. It is a great example of public and private funds improving the environment. While you are there, take a look at the interpretive panel and learn some new things,” Dudek concluded.

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