The lower section of the Fox River will open Thursday morning, just in time for the holiday, the Fox Waterway Agency executive director said.
All three sections of the waterway – both the upper and lower parts of the Fox River as well as the Chain O' Lakes – will be no-wake zones as water levels remain high and debris is still an issue following the second flood of the season, Executive Director Ron Barker said.
Boaters need to be cautious and aware of floating debris, he said. The Lake County Sheriff's Office, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office and the conservation police will have extra patrols to enforce the no-wake zone through the holiday.
"It's been a difficult year," he said. "This is the second flood, but we're hoping that Mother Nature settles down so we can enjoy the balance of the season."
The lower part of the river had been closed because of debris and how quickly water had been moving.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which controls the dams, is trying to get rid of the excess water as quickly as possible, Barker said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, water levels were dropping at a tenth of a foot a day as IDNR tried to get to 5 feet from 5.7 feet.
The waters levels measured at the Algonquin tailwater and at the McHenry dam are both considered at minor flooding levels.
The department has been trying to be more proactive in handling rain, starting to get rid of water earlier before the rain starts so than closure and no-wake times are shorter, Barker said.