DeKalb continues river restoration project

By Donald Roth Jr.

The DeKalb Public Works department recently completed phase five of the ongoing Kishwaukee River restoration project.

“We removed sediment and debris that accumulated over the years from the riverbed and along the river banks,” said Roger Chilton, assistant Public Works director.

Restoring the river’s flood water capacity by removing sediment and increasing water flow has been the goal of this phase of the project, he said.

The debris removed from the river and riverbed will be transported to a local DeKalb fill site for proper disposal, he said.

Phase five of the process began at Annie’s Woods and was completed at First Street, Chilton said. The cost of phase five was around $30,000, paid from the city’s general fund.

The Kishwaukee River restoration project began in 1984 and contains nine objectives to be accomplished, Chilton said.

DeKalb Public Works created a floodbank levy or dyke (from Hopkins Park south to Route 38) in the 1950s to serve two purposes, he said. One is to provide for a safer river water flow, and the other is to discourage river flooding.

Over the years, because of weather and natural causes, the river has built up sediment, debris and the like, he said.

Chilton said the Kishwaukee River restoration project is intended to insure the optimum performance of the levy.

“This is a never-ending process. Once we finish the Kishwaukee River project we still will have to maintain certain features of the river, such as water flow and debris removal,” Chilton said.

The next phase of the river project is not as certain, he said. Budgetary constraints could present uncertainty to the project.

“We (Public Works) have not decided which phase will be worked on next. It is all dependent on the July 1 DeKalb city budget,” Chilton said.

He said he predicts the next phase of the project could include river drudging or river bank encroachment excavation but he remains uncertain about specifics.

The remaining phases (six through nine) of the Kishwaukee River restoration project are projected to take five to seven years to complete, he said.

“We are still on schedule as of today and hope to finish in about five years or so,” he said.