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Kane County Connects along with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineering Chicago reported the following:
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Chicago has released a draft report on the Fox River and is recommending the removal of nine dams from Carpentersville to Montgomery. The USACE, in its multi-year study, examined a range of measures to improve water quality, restore habitat and reduce pollution on the Fox River. The options included: taking no action, rock ramps, bypass channels, partial removal or full removal of the dams. In its report dated September 5, the USACE is recommending the removal of the Fox River dams in Carpentersville, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Aurora and Montgomery.
The dam in Carpentersville is already scheduled to be removed by the Kane County Forest Preserve District, which owns the dam.
According to the USACE report, the majority of the dams were built in the mid to late 1800s to power industrial operations and are now obsolete. The study adds that the dams present a safety concern, are expensive to maintain and have led to a proliferation of invasive plant and animal species in the warm, slow moving pools behind them.
The Fox River Study Group, which is a consortium of municipal and county governments, water reclamation districts and environmental organizations in the watershed, has conducted extensive water quality sampling and river modelling. Their findings suggest that removal of the dams is the most cost effective means to improve water quality concerns that must be addressed, according to the Illinois EPA. Kane County is a contributing member of the Fox River Study Group.
Proponents of keeping the dams on the Fox River worry removing them would dramatically change the look of the river and may prohibit the use of certain types of recreational watercraft.
The USACE is hosting three meetings to provide a summary of the study findings and to hear public comments. Meetings will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates and locations:
• Monday, September 18 at the Kane County Branch Court, 530 S. Randall Road, St. Charles
• Tuesday, September 19 at the Heritage Ballroom at the Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
• Wednesday, September 20 at Waubonsee Community College, 18 S. River Street, Aurora
A copy of the report and recommendations are available online at the following link: https://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works-Projects/Public-Review-Documents/.
USACE is accepting comments through Monday, November 6, 2023. Comments and/or questions can be sent to Mr. Ryan Johnson, Biologist, at Fox-River-Study@usace.army.mil.