Fordam Dam Needs Help

Welcome to our website about the management of the Fordam Dam located in Rockford, Illinois.   The Fordam Dam has been controlled by Com-Ed has had major repairs completed in Fall 2018 with two of the gates that were not working correctly.

The dam is not built for flood control, but the 1975 permit states it should be used to maintain the recreational pool of the Rock River for Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, and Rockton.  The dam is considered a Run-of-the-river dam which is designed for limited water storage.

Our mission is simple, we are asking for the owner of the Fordam Dam, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to continue working with local authorities for safety, protection for our environment and economic interests for the people in Winnebago County. Thus far as of April 2019, ComEd has been working closely with Sheriff Gary Caruana in management of the dam.

In the past the dam has been run to the permit of 2.5 ft no matter what the water level is upstream.  ComEd, the sheriff, and the RRHA are working together to add a proactive approach to water level at the Latham Gauge.  Currently the following is recommended to minimize flooding and extend boating season:

  • Latham at 7 and higher: Fordham will be set between 1.5 ~ 1.8
  • Latham between 6-7: Fordham will be set between 1.9 ~ 2.2
  • Latham between 5-6: Fordham will be set between 2.3 ~ 2.6
  • Latham at 5 and lower: Fordham will be set between 2.7 ~ 3+

The Rock River is a valuable natural resource to the Rockford region.  Towns such as Loves Park, Machesney Park, and Rockton enjoy the river’s beauty as well as recreation it provides.  This not only brings money into the region but also increases home values.  If the river heights are not managed in a good way, there are many results that hurts our community such as:

  • Flooded parks reduces revenue with cancelled sporting events
  • Lost hotel and restaurant revenue due to cancelled events
  • Relocation of families due to homes being flooded
  • Loss of property values with loss in tax revenue for cities and state
  • Health issues with floods affecting septic systems and farm lands with fertilizers
  • Debris in the river affecting boating, swimming, and docks
  • Damage to personal property causing increases in Insurance claims
  • and may more