Interesting Things Communities Are Doing
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North Aurora River District Alliance - NOARDA
North Aurora's Water Wonders Project
Article by Julie Simpson, North Aurora

The North Aurora River District Alliance, NOARDA, will bring its first major project to fruition in early spring 2012.  Vice-chairman, Jennifer Duncan says, “We investigated a lot of possible options for our first project, but felt unanimously confident when we began working with local business, Aquascape, Inc., to build a sustainable 125’ meandering, interactive stream.”  Aquascape is known throughout the country for innovation and conservation.

The man-made, but naturally-looking, stream and water feature located next to the Fox River Trail in North Aurora, will uniquely educate local children about the importance of environmental sustainability, river ecology, and wetlands.  No other local attraction marries the importance of conserving water and appreciating natural resources in a dynamic, recreational environment.

Julie Simpson, chairman of NOARDA comments, “We want our first major effort to bring a ‘wow’ factor, for people to take notice that we are serious about improving the riverfront while maintaining a strong focus on being environmentally friendly, family friendly and fiscally responsible.”

North Aurora’s Water Wonders feature will provide local children with the opportunitySample Water Feature to wade, climb, splash and play while teaching them about water conservation and wetland environments.  Water Wonders will explain and utilize rainwater harvesting through a 4,000 gallon cistern system that collects water from the nearby Village Hall roof.  It will use Aquascapes’ proprietary rainwater reservoir system that allows the water to continuously flow through the stream.  A constructed wetland system will provide water filtration and animal habitats.  Native plantings and local stone will connect this stream with the natural environment indigenous to northern Illinois.  The Village’s Public Works Department will be able to access rainwater from the cistern to irrigate nearby landscaping and containers. (This photo is an example of what the Water Wonders feature will look like)

A variety of interactive components such as shallow pools to splash in on hot days, stepping stones, platforms, and waterfalls are included.  Engaging interpretive signage will connect the delightful play aspects of the stream with the vital educational features of the project.  Visitors of all ages will learn about water conservation, stormwater management, native plantings, animal habitats, and the ecosystem of streams. NOARDA will coordinate with the Fox Valley Park District and local school districts to use the water feature for educational programs.

A visit to Water Wonders will compel residents to explore the natural beauty of the entire riverfront area and to learn more about the historical significance of this location. Through collaboration with the Village of North Aurora, NOARDA’s fundraising efforts and contributions from the Fox Valley Park District, local public grants and the North Aurora Mothers Club, NOARDA will continue pursuing components of the 2008 riverfront master plan.

“We will create a destination for all North Aurora residents and the surrounding communities, a place where you want to visit, linger, play, walk, run, bike and enjoy,” says Simpson.

The cutting edge design and carefully crafted activities available at Water Wonders could transform the Village of North Aurora’s identity as a quiet “bedroom” suburb into that of a vibrant and environmentally aware community.

Drawing of the water feature design

A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River
in Illinois