Changes to prevent Chain O’Lakes flooding being petitioned by residents

Changes to prevent Chain O’Lakes flooding being petitioned by residents

Residents are pushing for Illinois officials to change how they run a dam to prevent flooding in several lakes that flow into the Fox River in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

Property owners are petitioning the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to intervene in the management of the Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River downstream in McHenry Township, the Chicago Tribune reported . But an official with the federal agency said residents need to petition local leaders before going to the federal level.

Flooding is the natural result of a system that isn’t equipped to hold all of the water it gets, state officials said. The state has no plans to expand the dam’s capacity.

State officials warn that opening the dam and letting more water out of the Chain O’Lakes could worsen flooding.

But residents along the group of lakes that straddles Lake and McHenry counties have suggested opening the dam gates to let water out sooner rather than waiting for the rain to fall. The alternative plan is a major departure from how the Illinois Department of Natural Resources operates the dam.

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