Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6

Completed in 2011

The Lower Bee Branch design includes a large expanse of open water that wraps around the former industrial pack site which is set to be privately redeveloped as a retail center. A multi-use hike/bike lines the waterway on the northeast side of the creek. Trail lighting and benches also line the creek corridor. 

The design includes two overlooks: one along 16th Street west of Sycamore and one at the Audubon overlook east of the HWY151-61 overpass. Almost 500 trees were planted along the creek and around the 16th Street Detention Basin. Construction of the Lower Bee Branch started in the fall of 2010 and was completed in November of 2011.

The project required:

  • Dredging the 16th St. Detention Basin
  • Excavation of approximately 265,000 cubic yards of soil
  • Deconstruction and removal of six residential and two non-residential properties
  • Construction of the 100 foot-long Sycamore Street bridge and 110 foot-long 16th Street bridge
  • Reconstruction of nearly 1,900 feet of 36-inch diameter sanitary sewer
  • Upgrading the 16th Street water main from 8-inches to 12-inches
  • Adding 2,180 feet of new storm sewer ranging from 15 to 84 inches in diameter
Fish Assessment 01

Lower Bee Branch Fish Assessment

On June 24, 2014, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducted a fish assessment in the Lower Bee Branch Creek. The stream segment contained 14 species of native fish and one non-native species (common carp).

Several species in the sample are considered game species and have significant recreational value including the following: bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed, and yellow perch. Given the “newness” of this stream segment, the DNR considered the sample a mark of success for the project.

floating islands web

Bee Branch Creek Floating Island System

In July 2017, the City of Dubuque installed a floating island system in the Bee Branch Creek between E. 16th St. and the U.S. Hwy 151/61 overpass as a natural way to target excess nutrients in the water and increase biodiversity.

The project consisted of 14 floating islands of various sizes with a total combined area of 2,674 sq. ft. The buoyant raft structures are made from 100% recycled BPA-free PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. This is the same plastic used to make plastic bottles. The islands in the Bee Branch Creek kept around 67,000 plastic drinking bottles out of landfills! The islands are planted with aquatic vegetation such as Sedges, Wild Rye, Blue Flag Iris, New England Aster, Marsh Marigold, Swamp Milkweed, and Cardinal Flowers. The islands are anchored to the bottom of the creek so they can adjust to the changing water level. The plastic raft material and suspended root systems create an ideal growing surface for bio-film and microbes to break down pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen that cause odor and algae issues.

Related Video