UPDATE: Boating Restriction Lifted for Rock River in Winnebago

UPDATE: The cable above the Fordam Dam that was damaged by debris from flood waters several weeks ago has been replaced by ComEd and Rockford Fire Department personnel. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has lifted the restriction for the Rock River from the State Street Bridge south to the Fordam Dam. This means that these waters are now open for normal use.

The entire Rock River in Winnebago County is now open with no restrictions. As a reminder, recreational users of the rivers should continue to be observant for potential dangers and exercise caution when using the rivers.

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


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A majority of the conditions which resulted in the implementation of the No Wake order on the Rock River in Winnebago County have subsided. Sheriff Richard A. Meyers is announcing that the previously issued No Wake Zone has been lifted, and the Rock River north of the State Street Bridge is now open to normal recreational use. The Rock River south of State Street to the Fordam Dam remains a restricted (closed) area due to the missing safety cable at the Fordam Dam which was damaged in the flooding. This action was taken by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources when the damage was discovered.

Users of the river are reminded to be observant and exercise caution as a lot of debris had been deposited in the river during the flooding that occurred in the past several weeks. This debris may still be present and pose a hazard as it may be undetectable from the water surface.

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


UPDATE: The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in monitoring safe conditions on the Rock River. Due to the safety cable normally in place above the Fordham Dam being down, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has designated the area of the Rock River from the State Street Bridge south to the Fordham Dam a restricted boating area. This means that these waters are closed for use and any activity is prohibited. Public boat launches immediately north of the State Street Bridge have been posted notifying boaters of this restriction as well.

The missing cable creates conditions significantly hazardous for navigation from State Street to the Fordham Dam on the Rock River. The conditions also make it treacherous for emergency response personnel who are called upon to respond and rescue persons involved in boating mishaps. Once the safety cable is reinstalled, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will lift this restriction.

The Sheriff’s Department has been monitoring water levels and water is still out of the banks in some areas of Northern Winnebago County. Sheriff Richard A. Meyers is announcing the continuation of the “NO WAKE ZONE” for the Rock River within Winnebago County north of the State Street Bridge, due to the high water and hazardous river conditions. The Rock River 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.

As a reminder, recreational users of the rivers should exercise caution when using the rivers.
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


UPDATE: The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department has been monitoring river levels throughout the County and we are now experiencing flooding conditions.

Recent heavy rains and predictions for continued rain along with increased water levels in the river north of Winnebago County have caused rivers to rise. According to National Weather Service predictions, we will continue to see increases in the water levels over the next several days with the Rock River predicted to rise above the 10 foot flood stage by tomorrow.

To address flooding issues, informational flyers are being distributed to residents in the affected areas. Barricades will be available in the event of anticipated road closures in affected areas. Emergency Notification System calls have also been made to these affected residents.
A response plan is being coordinated by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, along with Winnebago County and the Village of Machesney Park; and North Park, Harlem-Roscoe, Blackhawk, and New Milford Fire Departments.

Sand and sandbags are being made available at:

  • Harlem-Roscoe Fire Station #1—10544 Main St., Roscoe, IL
  • Michalsen Office Furniture parking lot—8010 N. 2nd St., Machesney Park, IL
  • New Milford Fire Station—2177 Will James Rd., New Milford, IL

    Generally, at the 10 foot flood stage, water will affect backyards along the river and begins to fill in low lying areas near the river. At 11.5 feet, water will surround low lying homes and cause some neighborhood roads to close. Currently, the Rock River at Latham is at 9.75 feet with predictions to rise to just over 12.5 feet before cresting on Thursday. Residents most likely to be affected include homes along: Edgemere Terrace; Ventura Boulevard; Shore Drive; and Blackhawk Island.

    The Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the weather and river conditions for the next several days and make any adjustments to our response as needed for any changing conditions. In addition, the Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) will be staffed and personnel will be available for any issues 24 hours a day. You may call 815-319-6215 with any concerns regarding flooding.

    As a reminder, a “NO WAKE ZONE” remains in effect for the entire Rock River in Winnebago County. The presence of debris in the river creates hazardous conditions which are difficult to detect, and 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 also increase the likelihood of problems for users of the river, which results in exposing first responders to dangerous conditions should a rescue situation develop.

    Residents of the area are reminded that as the water rises, flooding may continue to occur in areas affected by the higher water levels. Any additional rainfall will greatly impact the water levels, as the ground is saturated, and any significant amounts of rain over the next several days will add runoff to the water levels.

    Other rivers, creeks, and streams throughout the County will also be affected, but 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 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


    WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office has established a “NO WAKE ZONE” effective immediately for the Rock River within Winnebago County, due to the high water and hazardous river conditions.

    Although the river currently remains open for use, it is predicted to rise to 11.1 feet by Saturday, June 29, 2013, which is over a foot above flood stage. (The Rock River is at 8.31 feet at Latham Road as of noon today, [June 25th].) Boaters and other users of the river 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.

    Other rivers, creeks, and streams throughout the County have also been affected by 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


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