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Ruined river. Smallie habitat destroyed


jamie
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Ok..so now that Tronox has filed for bankruptcy and all but stopped dredging on the Dupage river....and now that the piles and piles of dirt has washed right back in due to the 3 floods in the last 6 months...and now that the banks that were supposed to be re-planted ( they tried last year but the plants didn't take because of the floods),,,and now that there's an entire section that has been wrecked and the smallies weren't re-stocked.....

Um...now what?

 

Anyone know what the plan is? I know that the Army Corp is in discussions about how to fix this God awful mess.....but that's mainly because naperville is pi$$ed off that the riverwalk flooded 3 times and is blaming the upstream work.

 

I highly doubt if most ( if anyone) even knew anything about what I just typed. But i figure it's worth a shot. I remember bringing up the clean-up project 2 years ago and was told that the ISA was involved or had knowledge of the full project. So...what about now? Anyone on this problem?

 

I think I need to take some photos of what has happened on the Upper Dupage. No one here sees it. I get the pleasure of seeing that destruction every day...and let me tell you, it aint a pretty sight. It used to be a fine place to find some big smallies. Now you'd be hard pressed to find a good sized creek chub in that 7 mile stretch.

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Guest airbornemike
Ok..so now that Tronox has filed for bankruptcy and all but stopped dredging on the Dupage river....and now that the piles and piles of dirt has washed right back in due to the 3 floods in the last 6 months...and now that the banks that were supposed to be re-planted ( they tried last year but the plants didn't take because of the floods),,,and now that there's an entire section that has been wrecked and the smallies weren't re-stocked.....

Um...now what?

 

Anyone know what the plan is? I know that the Army Corp is in discussions about how to fix this God awful mess.....but that's mainly because naperville is pi$$ed off that the riverwalk flooded 3 times and is blaming the upstream work.

 

I highly doubt if most ( if anyone) even knew anything about what I just typed. But i figure it's worth a shot. I remember bringing up the clean-up project 2 years ago and was told that the ISA was involved or had knowledge of the full project. So...what about now? Anyone on this problem?

 

I think I need to take some photos of what has happened on the Upper Dupage. No one here sees it. I get the pleasure of seeing that destruction every day...and let me tell you, it aint a pretty sight. It used to be a fine place to find some big smallies. Now you'd be hard pressed to find a good sized creek chub in that 7 mile stretch.

 

Enlight'n me please, Is this the winfield section by Ferry road?

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Guest airbornemike
Enlight'n me please, Is this the winfield section by Ferry road?

Disregard, researched the "restoring the river valley" hate see'n stuff like this happen.

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Guest rich mc

i havent sen it fiorst hand since the heavy rains last dec and a few weeks ago. Don Labrose did speak at teh blowout last year with slides of the rehabb. he did show photos of the smallies that were reestablishing in the upper area . a shocking in the fall of 07 showed 3 year classes and fish up to 16. i have a feeling mother nature will re arrange things the way she wants it. rich

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Understood. I hope mother nature likes sloughs.

 

Rich, with all due respect, whatever anyone talked about in 07 or 08 has no bearing in this matter anymore. The piles of dirt weren't washed into the river in 08. The digging didn't stop in 08. And the dams were and are still in place since 08...along with a 1 mile pool of slop.

 

So..are we saying that no one knows what the plan is other than what Don talked about in 07 or 08, which has now gone down the proverbial crapper?

I just want an answer. That's all. If the answer is " we have no clue on God's green earth waht's going on up there." I can accept that. But to say that there was some mild stocking done and to think that even 1/10 of those fish are now still in that 1 mile area he talked about after the 3 record floods kinda leaves me to doubt that any of his points remain valid.

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This what I've found about this so far:

"...since all expenditures will ultimately have to be approved by a bankruptcy judge, it is too soon to say to what level the cleanup will be funded by Tronox for the coming year. "

 

 

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While I cannot speak to the stretch of river Jamie describes never having seen it the entire main branch thruout Plainfield and Joliet i.e. about 15 river miles or more has had a huge influx of silt in the past few years. Where before shorelines with even just moderate current were largely silt free with the cobble rock fully exposed now silt covers them. It's only in the fastest current stretches were you can step into the river without kicking up clouds of silt and in slackwater you step in at your own peril for getting stuck in the muck. Woody stretches that like the rocky shorelines would otherwise be good smallie habitat seem particularly silt laden.In the Kank it's sand;n the Dupage it's weeds and silt.Sad to say of the big 3 in our region only the Fox is not a river in decline.

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My brother and I shore fished a short stretch of the river on Saturday. I was amazed at how much the recent high water event(s) changed this section, in particular the large bars/islands that were created. I wasn't wading so I couldn't reach these areas, but they looked granular in nature. Could also be just large piles of shells, which I've seen before. There was a great deal of sediment up on the banks and shore as well (and beyond) with downed timber (and trash) scattered everywhere. There have been plenty of these high water events in recent history, but I never saw the river change this much from one. I hope the bedding areas weren't too heavily silted in. I'll be keeping my eye on that during the spawn as I always do.

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Well here's what i got from Anthony Charlton, Director of StormWater Management for DuPage County.

He said that basically even if Tronox is not ordered by a judge to continue the clean-up, the EPA has their eye on the project and will step in down the road because it's a federal Supersite.

Timeline? There isn't one. When Tronox went under, so did the timeline.

 

As far as the warrenville Dam being removed, the NOAH Grant they received runs out in 3 years. IF that runs out before dam removal funds could be allocated from elsewhere ( meaning inside other projects ) and redirected to the removal. He asked that if needed he may call on myself to spread the word about an upcoming meeting where it may be beneficial for local anglers to show in support of removal.

 

There are long range plans for stocking. Their shocking surveys showed a dismal number of baitfish in the entire stretch to be able to support a large gamefish population. There are also plans for stocking gamefish in the future but no date could be given. The vernal pools at Blackwell have already been placed and should aid in reproduction of forage fish species.

 

So...It'll happen. It just isn't going to happen any time soon and we're left with quite a mess. There are plans to have an independent contractor clean up the Cenacle site when the ground is dry...but judging by the photos you are about to see of Cenacle...that's not gonna be any time soon either.

 

There ya have it. A booming fishery and a greater ecosystem are promised. Unfortunately mother nature is going to have to wait a few years while Father Time drags this thing thru the court system for God knows how long.

 

Until then, enjoy the scenery, as i present to you The Upper Stretch of The DuPage River...courtesy of Tronox.

 

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The plan was this.

 

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Meanwhile roads like this have been cut into the forests at several locations. And everything inside sits. Including huge piles of dirt that were destine for a dumping site in Nevada.

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And the river in this 2 mile long section??

 

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Miles of chickenwire, anyone?

 

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Stumps. Covered in matting.

 

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Many stumps ( still rich in Thorium) left in place. This one used to be a prime habitata for smallies of all sizes that used it as shade. There was a deep hole under it.

 

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Spots like this were goldmines. Tons of rocks on the shore. 2 huge overhanging willows. Now..spots like this are mud shorelines with absolutely no cover whatsoever. There are many like this.

 

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It seems that certain "finished" areas weren't even touched. I've been fishing these very concrete slabs for years. The water used to be clear enough to see the bottom. It's only 2' deep at the end of those rocks.

 

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A classic spot. It had trees, deep water, everything! There was a higher berm that divided it from that carp infested pond you see in the background. Guess where many of those carp are right now? Notice how the area hasn't been finished and is now a huge mud flat. Previously I would have graded this as one of the best spots on the river. You've seen a couple of our biggest smallies come from here.

 

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A formerly great clear water area.

 

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Lots of this around

 

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More chicken wire.

 

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A formerly nice area. The water was clear. In fact we would pick them off by sight fishing. Trees like this weren't laying around. And all the brush was supposed to be removed as well.

 

 

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Yet another access road that used to be forest...no longer used.

 

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If anyone needs several thousand linear feet of some sort of blue plastic, I know where to find some.

 

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Areas like this were never cleaned up and are now a mess.

 

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Areas like this were stripped clean of foliage and rock. Left flat with mud. Unfinished. Washing into the river for who knows how long.

 

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Stumps and debris liter the water.

 

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And places like Cenacle have been destroyed.

 

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Thousands and thousands of yards of now-unsecured ground mesh, coming to a neighborhood near you! ( ahem..naperville)

 

 

So..those are SOME of the photos I took. There's dozens more but I think the point has been made.

To all the anglers south of here I'd like to say this: Even though it's out of sight, this is YOUR river. This is where your fish come from. This is where the waters start that you wade in. And even though you may never fish it, I urge you to not forget that it's there and needs us to make sure that it gets fixed.

I was told today by a friend of mine to " walk away" from this little issue. Sorry Pal..no can do. This is my back yard. And if it dies...it'll be your back yard too someday.

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Jamie

 

From the pictures you posted it looks pretty dismal. If the COE does take over it prolly won't be as ambitious of a reconstruction project as originally planned, more likely more geared toward reducing flooding downstream.

 

Don and Kathy , good job with the trees.

 

Maybe once the stream reconstruction finishes the ISA could use some conservation money to help replace trees and other vegetation along the shore. We could look into getting additional funding from private and governmental sources. It would be a great way for our members to volunteer some time as well to help with the planting. Partner with local government and other like minded groups on the labor and machinery needed.

 

A gift to future generations.

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