Because of the drought this year, the creeks around me were lower than I had ever seen them.
With an afternoon off, on a whim I decided to go wander around Little Rock Creek. Haven’t been there in a few months and wanted to see if the recent rains helped it’s water level.
Came across the oddest thing I’ve seen yet.
When you go north on Creek Road out of Plano, you go over a bridge. There’s water flowing under the bridge, slow, but flowing.
A little further north the creek comes close to the road. For as far as you could see up and down stream the creek was bone dry.
It’s all private property through there so I had to really fight the urge to go walk up and down the creek bed. I should have taken the walk, I had waders on, the buckshot wouldn’t have hurt that bad. They’re supposed to be puncture resistant.
In the next photo, you can see the creek bed heading off in the distance. The occasional boulder lying on the creek bottom, only that boulder just about in the middle of the photo isn’t a boulder. It’s a tire. Even out in the middle of nowhere, tires seem to migrate to flowing water.
One photo I took in this area didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Couldn’t shoot good enough through the trees. You have to appreciate what this area looks like. Few homes line the creek, there’s not much here. One landowner with a big chunk of land, lots of trees, went through the trouble of building a big mound of leaves in the middle of the dried up creek bed. I guess all those other acres of land weren’t good enough for a pile of leaves.
A little further up the road I turned east on Miller Road, there’s another bridge right there. The water was again, low but flowing.
Still further up, at Jay Woods Forest Preserve, the water was low, but it was a bit lower over the summer. It had a flow to it.
I checked out a big pool on a bend. It’s a good 150 feet long, 50 feet wide and the deepest part, even in this low water situation, is at least six feet deep. There was water flowing into it and on the other end, flowing out.
So, where did all the water go in that stretch in the middle? How does it go away and then start up again?
I’ve come across pump pipes in all the creeks that feed the Fox River and the Fox itself where people are sucking water out for their own use. Towns all up and down the river take water out for drinking, but this is really odd.
The section that is dry is directly across Creek Road from a nursery, a tree farm.
Could they be doing this or is there something else going on back there that requires the creek to be diverted?
If it is being sucked out, I thought taking that much water out of a creek or river was illegal.
Somebody from the nursery was watching me wander along the road taking pictures, so maybe soon it won’t be an issue.
The weird part was how there was water in the creek down stream again. In creek miles, less than a mile down. Legally, by federal law, I can go anywhere I want in a creek once I get in it without trespassing. I’d like to see where the water started up again.
I sent an abbreviated version of this to some people I know in the hopes someone knows what’s going on or can look into it. I got a response from Brook McDonald, President and CEO of The Conservation Foundation:
I took a kayak trip down that section of the creek a few years ago with a friend. Darn near killed myself. There are so many twists and turns and major log jams. Got sucked under a few. There is also a dam in that section that has a major log jam behind it, just upstream from where you were taking pictures.
Now I’m curious about this dam. There was water flowing through the creek further upstream. Even if there was a dam, it should have filled up behind it then continued on down stream.
Now I wish I would have taken that walk.