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 Stations:    
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, Yorkville
Website: foxriverstudygroup.org
Fox Valley Park District
Fox Valley Park DistrictThe 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 recreation programs.    

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      Website: foxvalleyparkdistrict.org
Friends of the Fox River
Friends of the Fox RiverThis 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 include:

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 tributaries.
Website:  friendsofthefoxriver.org
 
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