With each passing year, the Des Plaines River flows more freely.
Last spring the Illinois Department of Natural Resources removed Dam #1, near Wheeling, situated, logically enough, in Dam #1 Woods. This fall the agency completed the removal of Dam #2 in—you guessed it—Dam #2 Woods, near Prospect Heights.
Five additional dams owned by the Forest Preserves are slated for removal as part of an ongoing statewide dam removal project that began in 2011. To date, five Cook County dams have been removed, including Hofmann Dam, removed in the summer of 2012.
These low-head dams, much like the other aging dams in Illinois, were built between 1918 and 1968 and no longer serve their original purposes, including for recreation and transportation. (Dams #1 and #2 were built in the 1940s.) These dams restrict the travel of fish and other aquatic organisms, trap sediment and create hazards for canoeists.
Three more dams along the Des Plaines River will be removed, at Dempster Avenue near Des Plaines, at Touhy Avenue near Park Ridge and at Devon Avenue in Rosemont. With these barriers out of the way, the Des Plaines River will once again flow free within Cook County.
In addition, two dams on the North Branch of the Chicago River, located at Winnetka Road and Chick Evans Golf Course, will be removed.
Now the question is: what do we call Dam #1 and Dam #2 Woods?