I fish above and below the Waterford and Rochester dams.
Both dams were put in place long before my time. My point is that because they exist, the proposed draw down poses a significant risk to every creature that calls this waterway home. During the draw down the deepest spot is 3 feet, many spots are less than 2 feet. If a sustained period of cold temps were to coincide with a draw down, the fish are in big trouble, as they do not have the ability to search out deeper water. This is my concern.
Common sense tells us that drawing down any waterway is tough for the ecosystem. Remember how long it took the Fox River / Lake Tichigan to recover after it underwent a draw down to facilitate dam repairs?
Currently the Fox River / Drainage Canal is an awesome ecosystem. From Eagles, waterfowl, falcons, deer, coons, beavers, Musky, Northern, Walleye, Perch, Crappie, Drum, Catfish, the list goes on. For an ecosystem to thrive to this extent, everything has to be in perfect order. Natures hand is at work here.
Every year the canal is a favorite stop for migrating waterfowl as it is always the last to freeze. The canal provides habitat, food, and a place to rest for these birds. When the waterway is drawn down, the vegetation that the birds feed on dies, as it is no longer beneath the water's surface. This year, due to low levels and no food, the migrating ducks kept on flying and bypassed the canal all together.
The Drainage District by it's own admission stated that they have not dredged the canal in over 50 years and it is still operating properly. By their own admission (and history) they should be able to dredge it once, and be good for the next 50 years. Why on earth are they requesting a yearly draw down?
Also, if they need to dredge, my preference would be in the middle of Summer so there is not a risk to the fishery.
I have a passion for the outdoors, and what the Drainage District is proposing is short sighted, singular in purpose, and has absolutely no regard for the ecosystem or other people who enjoy the river.
I'm not looking for a debate on the merits of man made waterways or dams - my concern rests with the yearly draw down for the reasons I stated above.