Guest Column: Kilbuck Creek used to run clear — not chocolate brown or bluish gray

Note the color of the quarry on the left side of the map above. Also note the road across Kilbuck Creek with no bridge! (Image courtesy of 2011 Microsoft Corporation)

• Is their record mud on the Kilbuck? If this is William Charles’ treatment of Kilbuck Creek, how can the Winnebago County Board approve the State Street asphalt plant on another tributary to our ‘Class A’ Kishwaukee River?

Northwest Coordinator of the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance Terry Dodge took this photo, showing a huge sediment surge on Kilbuck Creek in August 2011. (Photo by Terry Dodge)

By Terry Dodge
Northwest Coordinator of Illinois Smallmouth Alliance

I’ve been fishing the Kilbuck Creek for at least 30 years. It used to be a clear-running creek full of smallmouth bass, Northern, bluegill, white bass, carp and walleye.

The Kilbuck used to run clear this time of year up until two years ago. What I see now makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.

Since the summer of 2010, the Kilbuck has become stained. It has gone from clear, see-to-the-bottom water to a bluish gray.

The source of this stain is a quarry that I understand is owned by Rockford Blacktop with its entrance next to 2605 Edson Road.

This quarry that is draining into the creek supposedly has a permit to do so. I refuse to believe that a quarry can get a permit to totally destroy a once-beautiful and clear-running creek as it has been destroyed over the last couple of years.

I called the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in mid-August of 2011 and spoke to Nancy Sisson. She came out and issued citations. From what she told me, she told them to cease what they were doing immediately, and not even to wait until they got the notice in the mail. She told me they are draining the quarrying into the creek via a small ditch.

Dodge took this photo recently, showing clear water running into the now bluish-gray Kilbuck Creek. A fisherman on Kilbuck Creek for 30 years, Dodge said less than two years ago, the whole creek was clear water. Now, Kilbuck Creek is being destroyed. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was provided with these photos by The Rock River Times, and will forward any citations and mitigation plans for next week’s issue. (Photo by Terry Dodge)

At that time, you could see rolling clouds of brown stuff in the Kilbuck, and we could only guess they were pumping out the bottom of the quarry to cause such sediment.

If you look at an aerial photograph on the website of the quarry, you can clearly see aqua-marine-colored water in the Edson Road quarries. It is also connected to other quarry’s and Pagel Pit by a gravel road that crosses Kilbuck Creek with no bridge! Look at web photos for the area between Baxter Road, Lindenwood Road and Edson Road, south of New Milford.

I was down at the mouth of the Kishwaukee on the Rock last week, and I talked to two canoers who were coming in. They said they could see the stain coming out of the Kilbuck into the Kishwaukee. They said it was very noticeable.

I was there yesterday, and it’s still bluish gray. I don’t think it’s acceptable myself, and this is not something I’m going to let go.

What are we going to do about this?

I hear Rockford Blacktop wants an asphalt plant on East State, in a quarry right next to Beaver Creek. I’ve fished that creek too, and don’t think it’s a good idea considering what they’ve done to the Kilbuck.

That will really affect the Kishwaukee. I don’t know who the hell would like to go to the Kilbuck Forest Preserve anymore. Even when the DNR was doing spring sampling there, they said it looks disgusting.

What are we going to do about this?

Editor’s note: Please call the Rockford office of the IEPA, 815-987-7760, and complain about any water quality issue in the Kishwaukee you see, and how it has been ruined in the last few years. Also, ask them about their supervision of the drainage of the proposed asphalt plant’s quarry on East State. According to a report by Leggette, Brashears, and Graham, Inc., a “Hydrology Evaluation and AST Regultory Summary,” on the proposed asphalt plant in William Charles’ East State Street quarry, “two pumps located just below the floor of the quarry that intermittently pump approximately 2.5 million gallons per day or 1,700 gallons per minute combined” out of the quarry. Nearby Beaver Creek and its watershed runs only over a mile to the Kishwaukee. Remember the biggest fish kill in Illinois history on the Kishwaukee and Rock River as a result of the ethanol spill? More than 2 million gallons a day could provide steady pollution that could ruin the Beaver Creek watershed and the Kishwaukee forever. While William Charles promises it has been and will be a good neighbor, Kilbuck Creek tells another story. Call your county board member today, and say, “NO!” to the asphalt plant and say, “YES, RIGHT NOW!” to the clean-up of Kilbuck Creek. Save The Kishwaukee!

From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue

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