Get rare behind-the-scenes look at Illinois’ first center dedicated to raising freshwater mussels

See how Forest Preserve District of DuPage County ecologists are raising freshwater mussels, federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonflies, and other aquatic animals during special behind-the-scenes tours of the Urban Stream Research Center at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville on Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19.

The center is normally closed to the public, so these tours will provide 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 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday and are for all ages (under 18 with an adult). Tours are $5 per person. Register online or at 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 Forest Preserve District of DuPage County manages more than 1,000 acres of aquatic habitats, including lakes, wetlands, streams, and rivers flowing through DuPage forest preserves.

Since its first release in 2016, the District has propagated, reared, and released just under 29,000 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.

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

About the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 5.5 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, seven 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 and Facebook; X, formerly known as Twitter; Instagram; YouTube; and TikTok pages.


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Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce
306 Main St.
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: 630-231-3003
Fax: 630-231-3009
Email: team@westerndupagechamber.com

Monday- Friday: 8:00 AM-Noon 1:00 PM-5:00 PM
Saturday: By Appointment Only
Sunday: Closed