Fox River Study Group
This diverse coalition was formed to address sustainable
growth and water quality issues in the Fox River
Watershed and includes FREP, the Fox River and Fox Metro
Water Reclamation Districts, Friends of the Fox River,
Sierra Club, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission,
and the Illinois EPA. In addition, there are
representatives from Kane County, Aurora, Crystal Lake,
Elgin, Batavia, Geneva, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills,
St. Charles, and Yorkville.
In their initial meetings last summer, FRSG focused on
planning for a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study for
three segments of the Fox River that appear on the
state’s impaired waters list. One segment runs from
Holiday Hills to Lake Barrington in McHenry and Lake
counties, and two abutting segments run from South Elgin
to North Aurora in Kane County. These segments were
listed because results from at least one water sample
suggested that there are water quality concerns. The
most common concerns include low dissolved oxygen levels
or high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria.
Over the course of the last year, the FRSG has expanded
its scope to the development of a comprehensive model of
the Fox River Watershed. This model will allow the group
to more clearly identify the current water quality
status of the Fox River and will be a planning tool to
evaluate best management practices and potential
implications of development throughout the watershed.
The Illinois EPA has funded the Illinois State Water
Survey to gather and compile current water quality and
land use information in the Fox watershed from the
Stratton Dam to the river’s discharge into the Illinois
River at Ottawa. This 15-month effort is Phase I of a
3-phase effort to develop a model of the watershed which
can be used for future decision-making.
In order to supply the Water Survey with good
information on the current water quality of the Fox
River, FRSG has also undertaken a coordinated water
quality monitoring effort. On April 30, the group began
a twice-monthly collection and analysis of water samples
from seven sites on the Fox River from Chapel Hill Rd.
in Johnsburg to the Rt. 47 bridge in Yorkville. Every
other Tuesday morning sampling crews collect samples.
These are volunteers from Friends of the Fox River,
Sierra Club and staff from the sewage treatment works of
Algonquin, Batavia, Carpentersville, Crystal Lake, Fox
River, Fox Metro, Geneva, Island Lake, Lake in the
Hills, St. Charles and Yorkville-Bristol. The Fox Metro
and Fox River Water Reclamation Districts and the City
of Elgin Water Treatment Department are analyzing the
samples in their labs.
The hope of FRSG is to better understand the water
quality issues of the Fox River, to develop tools for
decision-making in the watershed, and ultimately, to
protect the quality of the waters of the Fox River for
future generations. Meetings of the group’s Steering
Committee are open to all who would like to attend.
People interested in participating in the monitoring
effort are encouraged to offer their help.
Fox River Water Quality Study
Chapel Hill Rd. Bridge, Johnsburg Burton’s Bridge (Rt.
176), Island Lake Prairie Trail Bridge, Algonquin
South Elgin Bridge, South Elgin Fabyan FPD Walkway,
Geneva Mill St. Bridge, Montgomery Rt. 47 Bridge,
|Fox Valley Park District
Fox Valley Park District was founded in 1947 and devoted
its early years to acquiring land and improving the Fox
River shoreline. Today, the District’s services are an
integral part of the Fox Valley area’s ”lifestyle
experience” for its 170,000 residents. The District
strives to develop new parks, revitalize existing parks
and offer recreation programs to appeal to its diverse
population. Its boundaries encompass 22 miles of
shoreline, large stretches of Waubonsee and Blackberry
creeks, and 50 square miles of land. Last year, the Fox
Valley Park District offered over 900 different
The Park District maintains over 135 beautifully planned
parks and has developed a network of almost 30 miles of
premier trails including the Fox River Trail, the V.L.
Gilman Nature Trail and the Aurora Branch of the
Illinois Prairie Path.
Park District facilities include Blackberry Farm’s
Pioneer Village, Red Oak Nature Center, an indoor tennis
facility, Eola Community Center, Prisco Community
Center, Fox Bend Golf Course, Orchard Valley Golf
Course, Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center, and Splash
Country Water Park.
A successful referendum in 2002 allowed the District to
sell bonds to finance a new athletic center as well as
additions to Eola and Prisco community centers. The
addition to Prisco was recently completed and added a
9,000 square foot dividable multipurpose room with a
stage, a new dance room, and new classrooms. The
addition to Eola is expected to be complete in the
spring of ’04 and will add multipurpose classroom space,
expand the fitness center, and add to the dance and
gymnastics areas. Ground will be broken for the Valley
Athletic Center before winter, with an expected
completion date of 2005.
The District’s 2400 acres of open space, variety of
facilities, tax base, and population served combine to
make it the second largest Park District in Illinois.
Current information about the Fox Valley Park District
can be found on its award winning web site, which
includes all information from the current activity
guide, a facility directory, a parks and trails
directory, and general information.
|712 S. River
Street Aurora, IL 60507 (630) 897-0516
Friends of the Fox River
non-profit organization carries out many programs and
activities to educate citizens about river issues, and
advocates the adoption of practices by individuals and
governments that will best protect and enhance the
quality of the watershed. Some of their activities
Volunteer Stream Monitoring
Network Friends of the Fox River works with
schools and citizens, developing a network of volunteers
that monitors the biological and chemical health of the
river and its tributaries. They provide training, lend
equipment, and compile data collected by the volunteers.
These data serve to establish long term trends in water
quality, and can be the first warning sign of problems
in the watershed.
Advocacy When policies that
affect the health of the Fox River Watershed are
debated, Friends of the Fox participates as an advocate
for the river. They review and comment on EPA permits
for municipal and commercial discharges in the Fox River
and its tributaries, and attend and testify at public
hearings on water quality issues in the Fox Watershed.
They write letters to the editors of Fox Valley
newspapers, to legislators and to government agencies
about water quality issues. They are active members of
the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, and helped to shape
FREP’s watershed plan.
Annual Student Congress In
conjunction with Kane County Regional Office of
Education, Friends of the Fox River sponsors an annual
Student Congress for middle and high school students.
This event gives several hundred students the
opportunity to learn how to be volunteer stream
monitors, and learn why watershed protection is such an
urgent issue in their localities.
Annual Fox Rescue River Clean Up
Each May, volunteers in several communities turn out for
the Fox Rescue event. These enthusiasts, that include
students, scout troops, employee groups, as well as
individual citizens, remove thousands of pounds of trash
from the shores and waters of the Fox River and its
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