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Wheeling celebrates completion of Buffalo Creek streambank project
Daily Herald staff report

This is what the bank of Buffalo Creek looked like at Childerly Park in Wheeling before a streambank stabilization effort.


Courtesy Village of Wheeling

A $2.5 million project to stabilize the banks along Buffalo Creek in Wheeling has left the stream looking like this in Childerly Park.


Courtesy Village of Wheeling

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Published: 11/6/2009 12:58 PM | Updated: 11/6/2009 1:55 PM

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State and local officials today held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of a $2.5 million project to stabilize the eroding streambank of Buffalo Creek in Wheeling.

Buffalo Creek, a tributary to the Des Plaines River, drains approximately 26.82 square miles in south central Lake County and north central Cook County.

This phase of the project, which involved 52 properties, is part of nearly five miles of stabilization program proposed for the creek within the village.

Wheeling undertook a stream stability study in 2005 covering its length from West Aptakisic Road on the village's western border to its confluence with the Des Plaines River near Chicago Executive Airport.

The assessment found slight to severe bank erosion from stormwater runoff that has grown in volume and velocity as the watershed has been developed.

This project tackled the northern third of the study area where problems were greatest. The stream bank has been beautified with native wetland and upland prairie plantings and seeds.

Structural and biotechnical techniques were used to stabilize the area, reduce erosion, and improve water quality and the aquatic habitat.

The project was funded by federal, state and local governments, with federal assistance of $1.1 million and a village contribution of $806,720 in expenses and in-kind services. A grant was awarded to the Chicago Metrpolitan Agency for Planning by the Illinois EPA to provide financial, technical, and administrative assistance. Project costs that exceeded the initial $1.9 million estimate were offset in part by a $120,000 grant sponsored by state Rep. Sidney Mathias from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and with funds from Wheeling’s Capital Projects Funds.

Key village staff on the project were Tony Stavros, director of public works, and Tim Merrihew, capital projects and design manager for public works, while then-acting Village President and current Trustee Dean Argiris and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency played key roles in obtaining grants for the project, village officials said.