Fox River drawdown begins Friday

The William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock and Dam in McHenry will begin the drawdown of the Fox River Friday, the annual sign that boating season is nearing its end.

The drawdown will take place from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, according to Ron Barker, executive director of the Fox Waterway Agency. The drawdown will lower the Chain O' Lakes and the Fox River by 18 inches and nearly double the storage space to 10,000 acre-feet.

The water levels need to be lowered before colder temperatures create ice on the river and damage shoreline structures. The drawdown also lowers the risk of winter flooding.

Barker said the Fox Waterway Agency would not have exact boat traffic numbers or how many permits were sold this year until mid-November, but he did say it was a busy season on the river.

"After the spring floods receded people were out in full force," he said. "We had a very good boating season."