We are aware that the Upper Fox River is experiencing low water levels. As of 4/13/2020, the Lake Villa gage is above where it should be as winter operations remain in effect until May 1st. April is the transition month from Winter to Summer Operations, so we are moving from a stage of approx. 2.5 to approx. 4.0 at Lake Villa. Ideally, we would be around 3.25 near the middle of the transition month. To optimize as much available storage as possible for spring heavy rainfall events, the Stratton Dam gates have been fully open resulting in lower levels at the McHenry pool. This course of action is intended to minimize potential spring flood impacts. A positive result provided by this plan was realized during a heavy event a few weeks ago where having the McHenry pool low (additional storage) provided a great benefit for the entire system. The intent is to keep storage available as long as possible while still reaching normal Summer pool by May 1st.
The National Weather Service has stressed the concern of above normal rainfalls this spring in addition to high soil moisture which leads to excessive runoff volume into the river and lakes. We are striving to have the river and lakes in the best situation possible to prepare for spring heavy rainfall events to minimize potential flood impacts and provide expected recreational water levels. Rest assured, we will have the lake in the Summer pool by May 1st.
Munib Ahmad, P.E.
Engineering Studies Section
IDNR Office of Water Resources