Project Updates

As updates are provided we will post a description of each project with pictures

If you have questions about any of the projects listed on this page, please contact Ann Viger, Director of Planning and Development, at (815) 459-0680, ext. 1205 or via email.

Fetzner Park Riparian Restoration

Veteran Acres Pond

2018-2019 Projects

Veteran Acres Pond

Veteran Acres Park, 431 N. Walkup, Crystal Lake

Update: July 5, 2018

In an effort to control aquatic plants that have taken over the surface of the water at Veteran Acres pond, Hey and Associates, Inc. will be conducting an herbicide treatment on Friday morning, July 6, 2018. The product applied will be a liquid form of a selective, systemic aquatic herbicide to control specific plants within the body of water. Duckweed, water lilies and cattails are naturally occurring aquatic plants that must be treated chemically to reduce their coverage. This is the first step in a restoration program aimed to strike a balance between the health and aesthetic qualities of the pond. Residents should understand that the pond will look worse before it looks better. The dead plant material will be unsightly for a period of time this summer.

Water use restrictions are as follows:

  • There are NO RESTRICTIONS on fishing, swimming or livestock/pet water consumption followingthis application
  • Water from treated areas are not to be used for irrigation following the treatment

Treatment signs will be posted at the time of the treatment and will be removed at the end of the following day. Should the weather prevent this treatment from happening on the date listed above, the treatment will occur on the next business day that the weather allows. For more information, contact Hey and Associates, Inc. at 847-740-0888

Fetzner park riparian restoration

Fetzner project FAQ's

Click to view FINAL PLANs (10/11/17)

View on Interactive Map

View Press Release

Fetzner Park, 690 Alexandra Blvd, Crystal Lake

Update: June 29, 2018

A few trees and shrubs are being planted over the next few days at Fetzner Park, but the project is complete. The park district will continue normal maintenance in the park and monitor the new plantings as they mature.

Fetzner Park Stream Restoration Project Complete

Update: June 4, 2018

The stream restoration project is nearly complete. All disturbed areas have been seeded, either with traditional turf grass or with a mix of native grasses and wildflowers. Shrubs have been planted in the naturalized area. Additional plantings are planned for the near future. Watch here for updates.

Stream Restoration Project at Fetzner Park

Update: April 27, 2018

The stream restoration project is back in full swing. Four rock riffles have been constructed in the stream bed. Landscaping will begin next week.

December 8 Update

Update: April 23, 2018

Work is resuming this week at Fetzner Park on the stream restoration project. Crews will be installing rock formations called riffles in the bed of the stream. This will help aerate the water and improve water quality and habitat. As the project progresses this spring, the remaining natural areas will be seeded and other plantings will be installed.

Update: March 7, 2018

It will be another month or before work resumes on the Fetzner Park Restoration Project. Tree removal was completed late last fall and some seeding was done. Once conditions improve, the contractor will be back on site to finish seeding the native plants and to install shrubs. The park district will be installing several more trees along the path when weather permits.

Update: December 8, 2017

The removal of hazardous and invasive trees and undergrowth along the stream is complete. The contractor is continuing with clean-up operations before shutting down for the winter. Park District staff will be installing a few plants in the coming days and will continue regular maintenance of the park throughout the winter. In the spring, as weather permits, native grass seed will be spread along both sides of the creek and additional plant material will be installed. The cross-vane (riffle) structures in the creek will be constructed in the spring.

December 8 Update

Update: December 1, 2017

Tree removal has resumed along the creek at Fetzner Park. The contractor expects the removal and clean-up operation to take several days. Trees that are marked with ribbons are not being removed, but the contractor has the authority to make on-site decisions to remove or leave trees depending on conditions.

Update: November 17, 2017

There is not much to report this week other than three of the four permanent educational signs were installed in the park. These signs give a general overview of the importance of native plants to restore degraded streambanks and to provide excellent habitat. The wet weather and muddy site conditions has kept the tree removal contractor away. It is doubtful that the contractor will return to work until the ground is frozen, but keep an eye on this space for updates if anything changes.

November 17 Update

Update: November 10, 2017

The heavy rainfall two weeks ago has caused muddy and unstable conditions along the steam edge which has delayed the tree removal operation. The tree removal contractor is hoping to return to site before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the detention basins are being seeded with a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers. The newly seeded areas are being covered with a straw mat mulch for the winter. Four interpretive signs will be installed soon throughout the park which will graphically describe the restoration project.

Update: November 3, 2017

The inclement weather this past week delayed the return of the tree removal contractor and the tilling work. However, it certainly didn't delay the work of several busy beavers (see photos.) Park district staff is monitoring the beaver dam and removing damaged trees from public areas. Several trees were planted in the park to replace those removed due to death or hazardous conditions earlier in the year.

Fetzner Park Beaver Damage
Fetzner Park Beaver Damage

Update: October 31, 2017

Update on Tree Removal Schedule

The contractor is able to resume tree removal sooner than mid-November, as was previously announced. Watch for tree removal to begin during the week of October 30. Additionally, the dead turf areas will be tilled to prepare for seeding of native grasses and wildflowers. Crystal Lake Park District crews will be in the park planting trees and performing routine maintenance.

Update October 25 Postcard mailing to neighbors of Fetzner Park


Update October 19, 2017 Post Neighborhood Meeting Correspondence from Crystal Lake Park Board President, Debbie Gallagher (PDF)

Update October 11, 2017 The Crystal Lake Park Board of Commissioners held a Special Meeting on October 5 to present the project to neighbors and listen to comments and concerns. Staff has been directed to report back to Board and public with a recommendation. Watch this space for further information. The plans previously posted here were a draft version. The final plans have now been posted.

Update September 22, 2017 Construction work on the Fetzner Park riparian restoration project in Crystal Lake was put on hold Thursday, September 21, after residents expressed concern about the scope of the tree removal phase of the project. In order to address these concerns and to provide further information about the project, a meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5 at 7 PM in the lower level of the Administrative Office, 1 E. Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake. For more information contact Ann Viger, Director of Planning & Development, 815-459-0680, ext. 1205,

Fetzner Project background

A water quality and habitat improvement project will be starting soon at Fetzner Park. The existing stream is overgrown with invasive trees and shrubs that do little to stabilize the shoreline or provide habitat for wildlife. Many of the invasive trees, particularly those that are damaged or diseased, will be removed. Native grasses, shrubs and trees will be planted to replace the removed plant material. Inside the stream itself, four stone "riffles" will be built to provide fish habitat and improve oxygen content of the water.

The park currently contains two turf-bottomed detention basins that serve to hold water during heavy storms. Both detention basins will be naturalized with native grasses and wildflowers. The roots of native plants will filter storm water before it leaves the detention basins. The water from these basins flows into nearby streams and bodies of water, so improving the quality of the water leaving the detention basins ultimately improves the quality of water downstream. Every drop of water in Fetzner Park eventually makes its way into the Fox River.

The park district participated in a multi-agency study of the Woods Creek Watershed in 2013. These projects at Fetzner Park were recommended as high priority water quality improvements. The project is funded through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 grant program.

Fetzner Project FAQ's


Riparian- related to waterways. In Fetzner Park the riparian areas are the creek and two detention basins.

Detention basin: a low area that collects storm water during heavy rain storms so that the storm sewers do not overflow. Detention basins empty slowly when the storm sewer pipes can handle the water. Detention basins do not hold water permanently.

Riffle: a small structure made of stone in the creek water. Riffles improve water quality and improve habitat for fish and other organisms that live in the water.

Invasive: plants that are aggressive growers and choke out other more desirable plants. Invasive plants do not provide good habitat for birds, insects or mammals.

Non-invasive: plants that do not take over an area or choke out other plants. Non-invasive plants aid the bio-diversity of an area and improve habitat.

Bio-diversity: a condition where there are many different types of plants, animals, birds and insects.

Why are large trees along the creek being cut down?

The trees along the creek primarily consist of non-native and/or invasive species, such as box elder, buckthorn, cottonwood, and honeysuckle. The shallow roots of these trees and shrubs do not stabilize the banks of the creek, allowing soil to erode into the water and be deposited downstream. The trees are weak because of the erosion at their roots and are easily damaged or uprooted during storms.

Aren't the trees natural? Why are they growing along the creek?

Historical maps indicate that the area was prairie and/or oak savannah prior to settlement. By the 1940's, the creek was channelized (straightened and probably deepened) for farm field drainage purposes. As the area was subdivided for residential homes in the 1980's and 1990's, the stream bank was left untended, seeds from aggressive and invasive plant species took hold.

Why was the grass killed in some areas?

The areas where the turf grass was killed will be seeded later this fall with a mix of native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Native prairie vegetation has very deep roots that will provide soil stability along the shoreline of the creek, improve and increase wildlife habitat, and clean the storm water in the detention areas and creek.

When will the path re-open?

The path will re-open as soon as conditions are safe for pedestrians and other park users. If the project continues on schedule the path will re-open in late fall or early winter of 2017.

What are the risks to neighboring property owners?

There are no risks to neighboring properties or residents, as long as the work zones are not entered. Safety fencing is in place to indicate areas that the public is not allowed to enter. Removal of older trees improves the safety of the park.

Will work along the creek cause my property to flood?

Work along the creek and in the detention basins will improve the flow of water and will not increase the chances for neighboring property to flood.

The park district said that the work would start in August but it didn't start until September. Can you explain why?

The tree removal contractor was too busy (due to the recent storms in late July and August) to begin the work at Fetzner Park in August as originally planned.

When will the park look pretty again?

As long as the project stays on schedule, all of the new landscaping will be installed this year. The native seeds being planted will germinate next spring. It will be several years until the prairie vegetation reaches its full potential. As part of the grant agreement, the park district has submitted and received approval from the Illinois EPA for a long term maintenance plan.

Will I be able to see Ackman Road from the back of my house?

Depending on where you live, you will be able to see Ackman Road. The tree removal plan was developed to remove fewer trees behind houses that directly face Ackman Road than those that are farther away from Ackman Road or are angled away from Ackman Road. Native trees and shrubs will be planted in the areas with the greatest visibility of Ackman Road to help reduce the impact. Shade trees were planted along Ackman Road, north of the creek, over the last two years to also lessen the impact.

Will the new plantings bring more mosquitos?

Since the new plantings do nothing to increase the amount of water in the park, the number of mosquitos will not be affected by the project.

My child's soccer/football/baseball/cheerleading team practices in the detention basin. Where will they go now?

South of Barlina Road in Crystal Lake, there are over 170 acres of neighborhood and community parks (not including Fetzner.) An interactive map and description of each park can be found on the park district website.

How can I get more information?

Online: Plans and a written description of the project are available on the park district website. Information is regularly updated on Facebook and Twitter.

By phone or email: Ann Viger, Director of Planning and Development,, 815-459-0680 x 1205

Print FAQ's

Update: September 11, 2017

What's with all the dead grass at Fetzner Park? Well, the Stream Restoration and Detention Basin Naturalization Project has begun! The first step was to kill off turf areas that are going to be reseeded with native grasses and wildflowers. Soon, the tree removal contractor will start removing invasive, damaged and hazardous trees along the shoreline of the creek. Please be patient - Fetzner Park will be reborn with new native habitats next spring!

Grass at Fetzner Park

monthly schedule


New entrance gates and site signage at Main Beach


Boncosky Synthetic Turf Replacement


Racket Club ADA Improvements


Sterne's Fen Restoration Phase 2