Why the Dams Should be Removed from the Fox River
As the crown jewel of the Fox River Valley, the Fox River is a source of beauty, recreation, and economic activity. It is a refuge for wildlife, utilized by over 300 bird species and nearly 100 types of fish; 40% of all North American Waterfowl utilize a part of the Fox River system. Aging, obsolete dams up and down the river impede the natural, connected flow of the Fox, creating a host of economic, environmental, and safety problems that residents of the Fox River Valley have to deal with.
DAMS ARE A COST LIABILITY TO ALL TAXPAYERS IN THE FOX RIVER VALLEY
Due to the 1972 Clean Water Act, municipalities along the Fox River are legally required to rehabilitate the Fox River so that it meets state water pollution standards. Without dam removals, further wastewater treatment upgrades are estimated to cost taxpayers $150 million within the next ten years. Aging dams also will require millions in infrastructure upgrades, liability insurance, and ongoing maintenance.
DAMS HARM THE NATIVE FISH, BIRDS, AND WILDLIFE THAT CALL THE FOX RIVER HOME
Dams slow down the river’s flow, trap sediment and pollutants, and lead to algae blooms. This makes it harder for the river’s native fishes to thrive, leading to fewer, smaller sport fish such as Catfish, Small Mouth Bass, and Walleye. Dams also cut fish habitat into small sections. River fishes need large habitats to swim in for spawning, growth, and completing their life cycles, and dams are preventing this from happening.
DAMS ARE A SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC SAFETY THREAT
Within the past decades, more than 20 people have fatally drowned after being pulled in by the strong currents below the Fox River’s various dams. The low head dams along the Fox River are especially dangerous because their design creates strong, recirculating currents that make it difficult for anyone trapped under the bottom of the river to escape.
BUT THERE IS A SOLUTION!
Dam removal is the best solution for rehabilitating the Fox River and returning it to its natural, free-flowing state, reversing centuries of environmental decline. After 20 years of scientific research and economic modeling, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the Fox River Study Group has conclusively found that dam removals are the most effective, low-cost, and safe way to improve water quality in the Fox River. And to help make this a reality, the Army Corps of Engineers is offering to cover 65% of the cost of dam removal. The Fox River Valley has a once in a lifetime chance to rehabilitate its namesake river with huge financial and scientific resources from the Federal government.
DAM REMOVALS ARE A ONE-TIME COST OF $5 MILLION VERSUS $150 MILLION IN WASTEWATER TREATMENT UPGRADES
Dam removals are a one-time cost that eliminates maintenance, liability, and insurance costs forever. By removing dams, municipalities can avoid costly, long-term expenses for upgrading water treatment infrastructure needed for improving water quality. This also avoids raising taxes and adding additional fees to the residents of the Fox River Valley.
DAM REMOVALS HELP RESTORE RIVERINE HABITAT FOR FISH, BIRDS, AND WILDLIFE
Removing dams on the Fox reconnects all segments of the river, giving fish access to a greater habitat for spawning, growing, and their entire lifecycle. Cleaner water also means more, bigger fish, mussels, and other aquatic life. When the fish benefit, so do the birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles that also depend on the Fox for food and habitat.
DAM REMOVALS WILL END FATAL DROWNINGS FROM FOX RIVER DAMS
Removing dams means a safer Fox River for swimming, fishing, and boating. Dams will no longer be a threat to public safety.