How are you handling the drought?

drought mapIf you look at the lawn, you probably see evidence of drought conditions; brown and brittle leaves. The grass is probably not native to this region, so it goes into a dormant state when conditions are too arid. Intervening with watering can actually make things worse for the plants. Native plants are drought adapted and currently doing fine.

Is the Fox River in a drought?

The Fox River is part of a watershed. Over 2,658 square miles of land contribute to the river’s flow. A pretty constant quantity of groundwater maintains a base flow through the whole year. When winter and summer precipitation levels drop, so does the flow in creeks and the river. This is usually a predictable annual cycle.

It’s a Watershed

While Kane County has had less than average rainfall this past month, that is not the case for many of the other 15 counties in the watershed. Many forecasted storms headed for Northern Illinois this month drifted north to dump inches of rain in Wisconsin. Different areas in the watershed have had different precipitation levels. The creeks are running low as normal, but the river is not.

Human Control

McHenry Lock and Dam

The Chain O’ Lakes is the second most used waterway in North America. It is a very a significant economic engine. Consequently, the river level in the Chain is kept high enough for boating by the McHenry lock & dam. The lock and dam system allows higher flows from the Wisconsin portion of the watershed to pass through the dam. In the Elgin area, this past week, as creek flows decreased the river level increased.

Data is Available

You can have some fun trying to understand the situation by gathering information from
Tom Skillings Facebook page
USGS flow gauges

Water is cleansing & nourishing…if it’s clean.

Lower Fox River by Lynn Rotunno