It’s a quest similar to those undertaken by neighboring communities after a six-year building boom that changed the landscape of the once mostly-rural suburbs southwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Will County’s population surged 33 percent, making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois and among the most rapidly expanding in the U.S.
Now that the building has slowed, many communities are taking a step back to identify areas straining under the weight of urbanization.
“We know the slowdown isn’t going to last forever,” DeVivo said. “Now is the perfect time to focus our attention toward protecting our natural environment.”
The environmental survey of Long Run Creek, released late last year and funded by an $80,000 state grant, revealed a creek under assault. Researchers documented garbage dumps similar to what DeVivo had seen, but also areas of the creek where natural buffers have eroded, contributing to a loss of native plants and insects.