• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
The Village is planning to naturalize several detention basin bottoms as well as a "wetland buffer" around a retention pond.

Project Area

Detention basin in Lombard, IL
There are roughly 350 storm water detention facilities in Lombard, including ponds, wetlands, dry basins, a few parking lots, and underground chambers. They all provide the vital function of holding heavy rainfalls and draining slowly to help avoid surcharging (overfilling) the Village’s storm and combined sewers. The Village owns just a minority of these facilities. The Village’s ponds include Terrace View Pond, Vista Pond, Morris Pond, and the Village Municipal Complex Pond. The Lombard Park District also owns a few ponds.

The Best Management Practice for vegetating storm water facilities is native plants. Compared to turf grass, native plants discourage resident geese, filter more pollutants out of storm water, reduce air/noise pollution from no mowing, reduce erosion due to longer roots, and provide a livelier habitat. In especially wet basins, mowing is difficult due to mud and cattails often become prominent. Although not native, cattails are difficult to eliminate and are generally accepted as higher value than mowed grass for dissuading geese, reducing pollution, eliminating standing water that could allow mosquito breeding, and providing habitat for birds. As budget and resources allow, the Village conducts controlled burns, applies herbicide, cuts woody plants, runs aerators, and uses environmentally safe algae control chemicals to promote healthy and diverse ecosystems.

Management Goals

turfgrass-dominated detention basin that will be naturalized.

The major management goal is to naturalize the vegetation in several Village-owned detention basins. The naturalization will increase the diversity of native species, minimize invasive species, and increase natural water filtration at each of the basins. Specific objectives are to: 

  • Increase diversity of desirable plants within buffer area (1 year)
  • Minimize existing invasive and prevent future outbreaks (1 year)
  • Increase natural water filtration (2 years)

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Heavier precipitation along with more extreme droughts may stress current species in the future (ex: longer inundated periods at bottom of basin)
Potentially longer growing season
New species may gain suitable habitat (both native and invasive)

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:


Possibility of more rain days, limiting available work days
Potential new invasive species to manage


Longer prescribed fire seasons
Longer effective chemical control seasons for invasive species

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Invasive species management
Mechanical removal of invasive species, chemical treatments, prescribed fire.
Flow regulation
Work with the Engineering and/or Storm Water group to regulate the flows in and out of the wet basins. Possible use of control valves on outflow.


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Total suspended solids measured at basin outfalls
Species count and distribution of invasive plants
Plant species composition changes over time


Water resources

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