Get behind-the-scenes look at Illinois' first center dedicated to raising freshwater mussels Oct. 16

  • Freshwater mussels are tagged and ready to be placed into the West Branch DuPage River in Warrenville. In June 2017, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Urban Stream Research Center released about 500 freshwater mussels.

    Freshwater mussels are tagged and ready to be placed into the West Branch DuPage River in Warrenville. In June 2017, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Urban Stream Research Center released about 500 freshwater mussels. Daily Herald file photo

  • On Saturday, Oct. 16, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will be offering a tour of its Urban Stream Research Center. Learn how ecologists are improving the region's watersheds by expanding populations of mussels, crayfish, insects, and fish.

    On Saturday, Oct. 16, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will be offering a tour of its Urban Stream Research Center. Learn how ecologists are improving the region's watersheds by expanding populations of mussels, crayfish, insects, and fish. Courtesy of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

 
 
Updated 10/5/2021 11:33 PM

See how DuPage Forest Preserve District ecologists are raising freshwater mussels, federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonflies and other aquatic animals at a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Urban Stream Research Center at Blackwell Forest Preserve on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The center is normally not open to the public, so these tours will provide people with a rare look at how ecologists are improving the region's watersheds by expanding populations of mussels (some of the most endangered animals in the United States), crayfish, insects, and fish. Environmental interpreters will lead the tours, showcasing the specially designed lab equipment as well as the District's overall conservation efforts.

 

Tours leave every 30 minutes 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are for all ages (under 18 with an adult). Tours are $5 per person. Register online at www.dupageforest.orgor by calling (630) 933-7248.

The five most imperiled and vulnerable species in the United States are all freshwater aquatic organisms, and freshwater mussels are at the top of the list.

Mussels play a vital, irreplaceable role in the overall health of aquatic habitats. They act as filter feeders by taking in large amounts of water, filtering out bacteria, algae, detritus, and pollutants before passing clean water back into the lake or river. One small adult mussel can filter more than 20 gallons of water in one day.

The district manages more than 1,000 acres of aquatic habitats, including lakes, wetlands, streams and rivers flowing through DuPage forest preserves.

Since 2017, the district has propagated, reared and released over 25,000 sub-adult mussels of six species into watersheds of the DuPage River, Fox River, Lake Michigan and the Des Plaines River to boost low natural populations of these animals.

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The Urban Stream Research Center opened in 2012 and was funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and in partnership with DuPage County Stormwater Management.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years.

More than 6.2 million people visit its 60-plus forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers, and scores of programs each year.

For information, call (630) 933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the district's e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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