Tuesday, April 22, 2014

(Photos) Soon-to-be-removed Touhy Dam in Park Ridge

Scattered through the rivers in the Chicago area are low-head dams, they were built for flood-control and industrial uses. But as recreational kayakers and canoeists rediscover these rivers, many are unaware of these dams, which are nicknamed "drowning machines." On Saturday a downstate man died on  the Fox River after when he and another man lost control of their craft at a top-head dam in Geneva. The victim was captured in a hydraulic boil. Imagine being trapped in a blender.

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is in the process of removing several dams on the Des Plaines and Chicago Rivers, including Touhy Dam on the Des Plaines in Park Ridge, which I photographed yesterday.

This dam might be too small to drown an able-bodied adult, but the rocks below can certainly damage a canoe or a kayak.

Low-head dams also prevent the travel of fish and they trap silt and sediment, damaging the health of the river.

I have a fondness for these markers, I found this one on the river bank adjacent to the dam. It reads in part, "USGS--Department of Waterways, State of Illinois. Fine for disturbing this mark."

Related posts:

(Photo) Dam Number 2 Woods and the Des Plaines River in Winter

(Photos) Dam on the North Branch of the Chicago River in Niles

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These dams #3, 4 and 5 are Low-Head dams. They are killers. If you think they can't drown an 'able-bodied adult' you're sadly mistaken. They've taken numerous live over the years. They serve no purpose other than to back up the water and inhibit the flow to maintain a constant level. Their usefulness is non-existent and in fact only a detriment to the water quality of the river and the health of the waterway in general. The removal of the Hoffman dam in Lyons, IL demonstrated quite clearly that removal of these dams is ONLY beneficial to the river. Not to mention lessening the likelihood of flooding by freeing up 3 more feet of carrying capacity. I'll be glad to finally see the Des Plaines River returned to its original state. It can't happen soon enough. Unfortunately the schedule for the removal of the remaining 3 is falling way behind!