Project Spotlight: Bull Creek Stream Restoration

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Project Spotlight: Bull Creek Restoration

Project Name:
Bull Creek Stream Restoration Project

Project Location: 
Beach Park, IL

Project Purpose:
Bull Creek, at the site of this project in the Lake Michigan Watershed, is a ravine at the bottom of three tributaries within the Dead River Watershed. Bull Creek flows through Beach Park, into Illinois Beach State Park and enters Lake Michigan. The project included restoring and stabilizing 1,475 feet of stream corridor areas, implementing best management practices such as rock toe and riffles, and installing more than 6,500 native plant plugs. With heavy rain, this creek system experiences significant increases in water volume which leads to damage from erosion and ultimately large amounts of sediment and nutrients deposits into Illinois Beach State Park and Lake Michigan. The project goal was to reduce nearshore and nonpoint source pollution, and to improve water quality in Lake Michigan.

Project Timeline:
Project planning and seeking grant opportunities began in 2012. The project was designed in 2015, and construction activities started in September 2016. The project is now complete.

Bull Creek Tour Nov 28 17


Project Partners:
The Village of Beach Park and Bull Creek property owners and stakeholders assisted by supporting and developing conservation and drainage easements on their properties. The Lake County Public Works Department televised local storm sewer lines, and the Lake County Division of Transportation helped with signage along the project. The project was designed by Conservation Design Forum and constructed by Copenhaver Construction.

The Bull Creek Stream Restoration Project was funded with local and federal grants.

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant award of $446,603 
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant award of $57,000
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program Grant award of $25,000
  • Stormwater Management Commission Funds (Local Match)

Tour of Bull creek restoration project


Three Interesting Facts About the Project:

The ravine systems in Lake County are an important natural drainage system into Lake Michigan and offer unique types of habitats and plant communities. 

The watershed tributary to the Bull Creek ravine is approximately 6.25 acres and runoff from precipitation events is amplified in quantity and velocity in the watershed.

Environmental benefits of this project:

  • Nitrogen Reduction: 213 lb/year 
  • Phosphorus Reduction: 82 lb/year
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) Reduction: 426.1 lb/year 
  • Sediment Reduction: 133 ton/year 

Based on Spreadsheet Tool for Estimating Pollutant Loads (STEPL) modeling


Project Manager Ernesto Huaracha


Contact Information:

Ernesto Huaracha