WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has lifted its restriction which closed the Rock River. The Rock River and Kishwaukee River in Winnebago County are now open.
The Sheriff’s Department has been monitoring water levels and water is still out of the banks in Northern Winnebago County. Sheriff Richard A. Meyers is announcing the continuation of the “NO WAKE ZONE” effective immediately for the Rock River within Winnebago County north of the Auburn Street Bridge, due to the high water and hazardous river conditions. Although the DNR has opened the river, it is still out of its banks in many areas, and boaters are encouraged to avoid using the river for recreational purposes during this time as the presence of debris in the river creates hazardous conditions, which are difficult to detect. Additionally, the increased water flow creates a much faster current than what has been experienced over the past few months with the lower water levels. These conditions increase the likelihood of problems for boaters, which results in exposing first responders to dangerous conditions should a rescue situation develop.
The Sheriff only has the authority to implement and eliminate a “No Wake” order, the authority for opening or closing the river rests with the Department of Natural Resources.
Any questions or comments concerning the opening or closing of the river should be directed to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Region 1 Office in Sterling at (815) 625-0086.
The Rock River is open with no restrictions south of the Auburn Street Bridge. As a reminder, recreational users of the rivers should exercise caution when using the rivers.
Other rivers, creeks, and streams throughout the County have also been affected by the flooding; however most of those areas do not threaten homes. Motorists are also reminded that they should not drive through standing flood water. If they encounter an obstruction due to the water, they should turn around and proceed in a different direction rather than take a risk at driving forward.
For current river conditions, and any further updates, contact the Sheriff’s Office at (815) 319-6300, or the Rock River information telephone line at (815) 316-8888. You may also visit the Sheriff’s Department’s website at www.winnebagosheriff.com