Remove the St. Charles Dam?

Will the Active River Project Remove the St. Charles Dam?

On November 13, the Kane County Chronicle printed a story about municipalities along the Fox River talking about possible removal of dams.  Discussions that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been actively having with mayors along the Fox River about the state’s efforts to remove dams for environmental and safety reasons was the focus of the article.  An excerpt below of the article discusses the St. Charles dam specifically:

St. Charles officials also are looking at the city’s dam as part of the Active River Project. That project aims to enhance recreation and economic opportunities on the Fox River while also improving water quality. The city of St. Charles, St. Charles Park District and the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles are working on the project.


“I think we as an organization like the fact that we have a pool of water upstream from the dam,” St. Charles City Administrator Mark Koenen said. “It provides recreation for boating and water skiing and all of that sort of thing. But there are probably ways to maintain that pool of water without having the dam.”


Koenen said the St. Charles dam is in reasonably good condition.

“I know that it has been inspected in the last five years or something,” he said. “There was no immediate concern about its structure. So, we’re in a little different position than some of our neighboring communities.”

Reading the article, it would be easy to question if the Active River Project would mean the removal of the St. Charles dam.  John Rabchuk, Chairman of the Active River Task Force, answers this concern with his response letter to the article (excerpt of letter follows).

Active River Project is about Opportunities, a Broader Vision, and Rebirth of the River

The goal of the St. Charles Active River Project Task Force is to explore ways in which to facilitate the rebirth of the river and to further the water quality improvement efforts we have experienced in recent years.  We are committed to maintaining water levels in the river and fully support recreational and economic initiatives in and along the river that enhance the impact of the river on St. Charles. This may or may not involve changes to the current St. Charles dam, but any such changes would only be considered if they maintained those current river activities, are supported by the community and enhance the economic and recreational opportunities for the entire community. 


The Active River Project Task Force has received initial funding from the St. Charles Park District, the City of St. Charles, the Kane County Riverboat Fund and the St. Charles River Corridor Foundation to hire the best design consultants available to identify those opportunities that could best enhance our community.  In the spring of 2015, we will conduct a number of public forums to gather input from all of the river stakeholders and the community in general to insure that thedesign concepts derived from our efforts are sensitive to current uses and the desires of the community; with a goal of presenting a number of potential projects to the community for discussion in the fall of 2015.

Do you have an opinion on this issue or things you would like to see included in the Active River Project?  

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The River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles supports and advocates for projects that will enhance the downtown riverfront environment as a destination for cultural, educational, and economic opportunities that are accessible to all.