Journal and Topics: A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, July 20 at Buffalo Creek Reservoir in Buffalo Grove to highlight new developments made to alleviate flooding and improve public recreation spaces.

Prominent officials for the project spoke at the event. Hosting the ribbon cutting was MWRD President Kari Steele.

“The original Buffalo Creek reservoir was intended to provide flood protection for the rapidly developing communities of Buffalo Grove and Wheeling… The developments now are intended to reduce flooding along Buffalo Creek as well as along the main stem of the Des Plaines River,” Steele said.

Buffalo Creek Ribbon Cutting
Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman, MWRD President Kari Steele and others take part in a July 20, 2022 ribbon cutting at Buffalo Creek in Buffalo Grove. (Charles Miller/for the Journal)


The reservoir has been expanding since 1973, creating more space to hold storm flood water and helping Buffalo Grove and surrounding communities increase stormwater protection. Recent developments, worth $9.7 million and over a decade of planning, have expanded the reservoir to store an additional 58.6 million gallons — further relieving area flooding.

According to the MWRD, 300,000 square feet of excavation material was dug up to provide additional flood support. The project also planted hundreds of new trees, 1.7 miles of new trails, seven new boardwalks, two scenic overlooks and 39 additional parking spaces.

In addition, 2,000 structures along Buffalo Creek and the main stem of the Des Plaines River received a form of flood relief. The flood relief efforts were in collaboration with Buffalo Grove, Lake County and surrounding towns.

“This project represents the relationship between Buffalo Grove, the MWRD, the village of Wheeling, Lake County Forest Preserve District, and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers,” Buffalo Grove President Beverly Sussman said. “The purpose of this project was to reduce the effects of flooding in our respective communities while offering increased storm water protection for Buffalo Grove and surrounding areas and communities.”

Buffalo Creek
Buffalo Creek expansion. (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Photo)


Wheeling Village Manager Jon Sfondilis was present to speak on the project’s intercommunity benefits. “This project with its beautiful and useful presence in Buffalo Grove will also serve Wheeling and all those communities further down the watershed,” he said. “[Buffalo Creek] is a perfect example of thinking local, acting regional. The problem and solution are not solely local-based. That’s what makes this project, both from the design philosophy to its specific engineering so significant.”

MWRD got the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers involved to calculate economic benefits, helping reduce future flood damages by more than $26 million.

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