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State: Yorkville dam project OK ecologically

Work River Road Bridge project Yorkville has resulted water level nearby Jaycee Pond drop several feet leaving clams other wildlife

Work on the River Road Bridge project in Yorkville has resulted in the water level at the nearby Jaycee Pond to drop several feet, leaving clams and other wildlife exposed on the shoreline.| Steve Lord~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 7, 2013 6:30AM

YORKVILLE — State officials say the River Road Bridge project and removal of the dam there has not significantly affected the ecology in Blackberry Creek and ponds the creek feeds.

Loren Wobig, of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said this week that state officials inspected the area around the project after media inquiries about possible adverse ecological impacts, particularly to Jaycee Pond at the end of Center Street.

Wobig said the state “found all construction activities to be within the parameters of the project’s environmental permits,” and that there were no bad ecological impacts, such as dead fish, turtles, mussels, clams or snails, “resulting from the planned temporary lowering” of Jaycee Pond.

The Beacon-News asked about the pond after residents expressed concern. Longtime Yorkville resident Dan Frantz, who lives along Blackberry Creek upstream of the dammed area, said he had seen snails, clams and turtles in the exposed part of the pond.

“It’s a real shame,” Frantz said. “I just think there’s a way to do it without doing that.”

An examination of the Jaycee Pond area this week showed that the pond has lowered dramatically since a dam was put in along Blackberry Creek to remove the old dam downstream.

Removing the dam is part of the project to rebuild the River Road Bridge over the creek, which has been closed for about 1-½ years since it was declared unsafe.

In the lowered areas of Jaycee Park, there were clams and snails visible, although no fish were seen. There is still water in the pond, but it appears to have lowered by three to four feet.

State and city officials said the lowering of Jaycee Pond is temporary.

Bart Olson, Yorkville city administrator, said city officials “knew the pond was probably going to drain a little bit” as part of the project.

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