Fordam Dam Needs Help

Welcome to our website about the mis-management of the Fordam Dam located in Rockford, Illinois.   The Fordam Dam has been controlled by Com-Ed and is in massive need of repairs as well as gate management.

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.  However, it has not been effective due to lack of maintenance of the dam as well as the lack of response from ComEd.

Our mission is simple, we are asking for the owner of the Fordam Dam, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) maintain the equipment on the dam to current working conditions for safety, protection for our environment and economic interests for the people in Winnebago County.

Listed below are some of the current problems with the Dam:

  1. High and low water alarms have not worked for years
  2. The ability to automatically open and close the gates from Joliet has not worked for a decade. This mean that Com-Ed must send an Operator out to manually operate the gates as needed
  3. The Control Room at the Dam has press-on labels saying what to add or subtract from the digital displays to make the number match.
  4. Gate #1 (gate closest to the West bank) is no longer working. The gate would not stay up due to bad hydraulics and in the fall of 2016 Com-Ed brought in a Contractor to manually raise the gate ½ open. They also had to install chains to keep the gate in this position. During the Flood of 2017, this meant that 50% of the water this gate was meant to discharge was not possible. After the Flood event was past Gate #1 was passing excessive water causing low water condition and watercraft being damaged by increased amounts of Sand Bars.
  5. The spill way of the Dam has only been cleared of trees and debris once in the last 10 years. Debris was piled up so much that it was visible on Google Maps Satellite!
  6. Com-Ed is responsible for up keep and repairs to the Dam as long as they own it according to their permit.

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