Over the years, ComED has worked with various communities to maintain river heights. Thanks to a number of people, the river heights have been better year to year, but the dam has not been maintain and needs our help.
Some of the notes we have seen over the years are:
- Fordham Dam was rebuilt in the early 1970’s. The top of the dam was raised 12” and 4 gates were installed. This was at the same time the Byron Nuclear Plant was being built down stream
- Com-Ed had a permit to rebuild the dam and are to maintain a water level of 702.5’ above sea level (2.5 on the USGS Gauge).
- the dam is not designed for Flood Control, it is designed to maintain a recreational pool level for property protection and boating.
- As water levels raise the gates are to be opened to maintain 702.5’(2.5 on the USGS Gauge).
This is to be done until the flow rate reaches 20,000 cubic feet per second. At this flow rate the four gates are completely open out of the water and the dam is then called a run of the river dam and water level is dictated by the upstream supply of water.
- In 2014 the Rock River Homeowners Association raised private funds to install a bench mark and static gauge at Davis Park just upstream of the dam.
- Com-Ed would not recognize the readings on the static gauge and insisted their gauge from 1975 was more accurate even though they could not say when theirs was calibrated last.
- In 2016 the Rock River Homeowners Association raised more private funds to have an official USGS Water level gauge installed at Davis Park. Now there was no question what the water level was. This was at the same time that Paul Callaghan retired. George Gaulrapp took his place as our Com-Ed contact. We worked through the learning curve with George and are very pleased with the concern George has for the operation of the dam and the opening and closing of the gates as needed to maintain recreational use of the Rock River.
- When water levels are properly maintained at the dam the river stays open and the economic engine of the river stays open and safe. Floods are a natural occurring event, but if the dam is not run properly the Local Community, River Residents, River Property, and Businesses are affected.
When the River is at a high water level, events and the Community are affected.
When the Sports Core 1 floods, it may need to be re-seeded and can be very costly. The Forest City Queen and the Ski Broncs are shut down, the results can be a significant loss.
- 2017 was the year of rain. We were very pleased with the response from Com-Ed to continually go to the Dam and make adjustments to maintain the 702.5 level.
This was the reason the Ski Broncs were able to have the 2017 Nationals.
This 3 day event brought thousands of skiers and their families and friends to the region.
It also brought well needed revenues to our Community.
- ComEd has been saying every year that they are going to bring it back to normal operating condition. Nothing has happened yet.