Parks and Facilities Maintenance FAQ's
The drought conditions that we’ve been experiencing so far this season have shifted our staff’s focus, particularly across our Parks Department. Additionally, as an organization that understands the importance of being good stewards of resources – in this case, water – our staff uses sensible practices in taking care of our parks and facilities while we continue to be challenged by a lack of rain.
During the current drought, mowing is reduced due to a slow-down in turf growth, however, staff still needs to spot check the parks and often still need to cut smaller patches of turf that are typically found in shaded areas.
Yes, a considerable amount of staff time is spent watering at this time. Not only does staff have to water newer plant material (flowers, shrubs and trees) installed earlier this spring, but plant material installed last year also needs to be watered regularly. In recent years, the Park District has placed a greater emphasis on using native plantings in parks and landscape beds that are drought resistant and therefore require less watering and general maintenance due to their deep-root structure.
We also water the clay portion of our ballfields when possible, otherwise they become very dusty.
While we have to use water from the utility service provided by the City of Naperville at several locations, we are able to use existing bodies of water in some instances including:
- Riverwalk – water from the Paddleboat Quarry is used to water foliage along the Riverwalk and at Centennial Beach.
- Frontier Sports Complex, Commissioners Park, and Springbrook and Naperbrook Golf Courses – water from the adjacent ponds is used.
The splash pads located at the 95th Street Community Plaza at Frontier Sports Complex and at Wolf’s Crossing Community Park operate with water recirculating systems.
It’s important to note that brown turf most likely is dormant and not dead. While the appearance of brown turf isn’t as pleasant to look at, going dormant is turf’s way of shutting down non-essential growth and storing water and energy to preserve it in the long term. While we irrigate sports fields to promote turf growth and prevent repeated wear and bare spots, non-programmed areas don’t receive the same kind of use. Turf that has gone dormant will spring back to life once more favorable conditions reemerge.
Low water levels in ponds, rivers and creeks due to drought often expose areas that were previously underwater and allow vegetative growth that typically isn’t seen under normal conditions. Additionally, low water levels result in a rapid increase in water temperature, which promotes the growth of algae and aquatic weeds.
The current drought is impacting water levels everywhere, and the DuPage River is no exception. While there are areas of the river that still have adequate water levels for boating activity, other areas with lower levels may be more difficult to navigate. Taking extra safety precautions is recommended. Please note that boats and other floating crafts are not permitted to be used in Park District ponds.