Meetings on Fox River Dams
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
The dam in Carpentersville is slated to be removed by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, which owns the dam. Two other dams on the Fox River have already been removed. The Forest Preserve District took out the South Batavia Dam in 2005 and the City of Aurora removed the North Avenue Dam (also called the Hurd's Island Dam) at the south end of the city back in 2006.
The USACE is hosting one more meeting 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:
- 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
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.
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/.
is accepting comments through Monday, November 6, 2023. Comments and/or
questions can be sent to Mr. Ryan Johnson, Biologist, at