Gate Adjustment update-


The Office of Water Resources continues to carefully monitor lake levels and manage the gate operations at Stratton Dam.  The month of May was unprecedented as the gates remained fully open the entire month.  Currently, the Chain and the Upper River are open to boating while the Lower River remains closed.  The levels at McHenry have been drying up and approaching winter pool as the system has drained.  Even though the upper river is open, it wasn’t fully boat able due to lack of adequate water depths.


The NWS forecasted rainfalls of a trace to 0.5” of rainfall with more falling north of the watershed were consistent throughout the morning hours, this had an insignificant impact on the system.  The gates were fully open overnight.  Due to minimal rain experienced in the watershed as forecasted, the IDNR closed sluice gates at the dam first thing this morning while keeping the Obermeyer (hinge crest gates) fully open.  This will allow adequate boating depths at the upper river.  It will eliminate flooding on the lower river and allow for boating.  It will also allow the Chain of Lakes water levels to continue to drop.  These gate settings are adjusted based on actual precipitation.


The rain forecast shows that only a trace of rainfall is anticipated until a week from today (6/10).  We are hopeful that this forecast will hold which will allow the system to return to optimal levels for all.  The IDNR and FWA thank you for your patience and understanding as we experienced record rainfalls and abnormally high inflow this past month.


The IDNR had to keep all gates completely opened at the Stratton Dam to pass as much flow as possible and to dewater the system after record rainfall at the end of April and then again in the middle of May.  Please understand that if it is flooding in the Chain, it is to everyone’s benefit that the IDNR keeps the gates completely opened to dewater the system.  It would be disastrous if they were to close gates and hold the water with the type of rains that our watershed has been getting.  Again, please note that when gates are completely opened the McHenry pool will drop because of a drawdown effect and Tailwater levels rise.


Hopefully, you’re beginning to see a rise in the McHenry pool this morning…  Lastly, we continue to thank you for your patience and understanding as we experienced record rainfalls and abnormally high inflow over the past month.


From IDNR Office of Water Resources (OWR) and the FWA.



Joseph S. Keller, Executive Director
Fox Waterway Agency,
Preserving our great Fox Waterway for all!
45 South Pistakee Lake Road
Fox Lake, IL 60020
FWA Phone: 847-587-8540
FWA Fax: 847-587-9742