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On the following pages (8-21) you can read about things people have done to help preserve and protect the Fox River. Most of these are simple ideas, like using native landscaping in your yard, buiding a rain garden, collecting and re-using rainwater in a rain barrel, and preserving important land through private conservation efforts. Visit to learn more about what you can do.

Te United City of Yorkville built its first rain garden in 2008 at the City Hall with plants donated from JFNew, environmental consultants. Te garden was initiated by the city’s park planner, Laura Schraw, who used its construction as part of her master’s thesis. Te success of that project led to another garden being built at the City’s REC Center with a $500 grant from the Illinois Lt. Governor’s rain garden initiative program.

“Te garden at City Hall takes about 600 square feet of run-off from the roof and holds it on-site,” Laura says. “Te REC Center roof is huge and they were having drainage issues on one side, where the kids play. Te garden there managed to

attract a large portion of run-off, so the land they use for sports practices is drier.” Yorkville . . . Campton Hills . . .

Rob Linke is a civil engineer specializing in water resources engineering at the St. Charles firm of Trotter & Associates, Inc., so when he and his wife built their new home in 2003, they decided they should practice what Rob was preaching.

“In 2004, I constructed two rain gardens, a small one that is more formally planted with individual clusters of native vegetation off of our driveway, and a 40-by-13-foot one that I grew from seed in front of the house,” Rob says.

He dug out both of the rain gardens with a small excavator that he rented. He removed the top 12 inches of soil, he says, so that his gardens would drain better because most undersoils in the western Chicago metropolitan area have a high mixture of clay. He replaced the soil he dug up with a topsoil-sand mix. But, for those who think such heavy digging is too much work, he says gardens can be created by using a rototiller and planting with plugs or from seeds. Some of the seeds he planted in his front garden included Indian Grass, Big Blue Stem, Little Blue Stem, Switch Grass, Yellow Coneflower, Purple Coneflower, Blackeyed Susan, Prairie Blazing Star, and Prairie Dropseed.

Rob manages his gardens by burning them off the last week of March or the first week of April each year, but says they don’t have to be burned. “You can mow or weed whack,” he adds. As for how they are performing, he says so far so good. “When you get into June, July, August and September, the whole front of our house drains into the one garden, and we can see the water fill up and drain down.” - 8 -

Conservation: Rain Gardens

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