The Fox Waterway Agency may soon receive the financial assistance needed to manage the Fox River and Chain O’Lakes’ dredging issues under legislation sponsored by State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry).
Charged with maintaining and removing sediment from the Fox River and Chain O’Lakes, Sen. Althoff said one of the Fox Waterway Agency’s biggest challenges is getting rid of the materials that have been dredged from the water. While recycling the material is one viable option, Althoff noted such an endeavor would require additional assistance and financial support.
“The agency doesn’t own property for this kind of operation, nor does it have the money to purchase a recycling site,” said Sen. Althoff. “My legislation would provide the Fox Waterway with the financial resources necessary to purchase property where they can recycle the material and sell it as topsoil, further helping their funding needs.”
Senate Bill 1258 would allow land no longer needed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to be sold to the Fox Waterway Agency for $1. The Fox Waterway Agency could then market the property for sale, but any proceeds from the sale must be used for the purchase and development of alternate dredge material disposal sites.
Under Althoff’s legislation, the Fox Waterway Agency is required to sell the property for no less than fair market value. Furthermore, proceeds of the sale must go to dredging efforts and any remaining proceeds must be returned to IDNR to be deposited into the state’s General Revenue Fund.
“The Fox Waterway Agency was put in place to make sure dredging efforts were maintained, and to make sure the lakes and river don’t become swamp land,” said Sen. Althoff. “It’s unfortunate that funding hasn’t been readily available for the agency to do its job. This legislation provides them with the ability to fund their dredging efforts.”
Senate Bill 1258 passed the Senate unanimously last week and now heads to the House for a vote.
Background Information: The Fox Waterway Agency is a public organization that partners with local governments and landowners, and was created in response to the waterways filling up with sediment causing it to be too shallow for boats to navigate. As a result, one of the agency’s main purposes is to maintain and remove sediment from the Fox River and Chain O’Lakes.