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Fox River Stratton Operations Status Update



Stratton Lock to Close September 14

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the lock facility at Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry County will close Sept. 14 for the remainder of the navigation season due to ongoing construction. The lock closure will not impact continued operation of the existing dam gate control structure.

“IDNR has been working to extend the size of the lock, among other improvements, at the facility for several years now and we’re finally eying the finish line,” said Loren Wobig, director of the Office of Water Resources, IDNR. “This closure will help ensure the project wraps up by the end of the calendar year, allowing boaters use of the new and improved facility for the entirety of the 2021 navigation season.”

More than 24,000 boats and personal watercraft pass through the Stratton lock annually. Once completed, the construction will improve three components of the facility by replacing the existing gate control structure, extending the lock and rehabilitating the berm on the west side of the Fox River to correct erosion problems.

The closure will continue through the end of October and will require that the lock be fully closed and dewatered. The facility will then close for the winter beginning Nov. 1 and will reopen in spring of 2021.

The observed precipitation from the National Weather Service (NWS) indicates 0.1” to ½” of precipitation in the last 7 days(Figure 1). Measured inflows on the Fox River near New Munster, WI are 430 cfs and dropping; flows on Nippersink Creek near Spring Grove are 90 cfs and dropping. The Fox Lake stage is 3.77 ft; the Stratton Dam Tailwater stage is 1.15 ft. The Fox River at the Algonquin Dam Tailwater stage is 5.38 ft.


The NWS is predicting ¼” to ¾” of precipitation for the next 7 days in the Fox River watershed as shown on Figure 2.


The following information is obtained from the NWS Update dated 8/31/20:

The Drought Monitor from August 27, 2020, indicates abnormally dry conditions across most of northeast Illinois and far northwest Indiana. Some isolated areas have reached moderate drought levels, especially near the Chicago metro area. Continued dry weather this week has the potential to worsen drought conditions.


All gates at Stratton Dam and Algonquin Dam are completely closed. As indicated above in the Drought Monitor, the continued dry conditions this week has the potential of worsening the drought conditions. Due to the lack of precipitation in the Fox River/Chain of Lakes watershed, the navigational levels are running low. The boaters are advised to use caution.


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