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Agency Seeks Private Funds To Dredge Chain O'Lakes, Fox River

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The agency in charge of maintaining the Fox River and Chain O'Lakes has set its sights on other revenue streams to help pay for dredging now that state funding has dried up.

Fox Waterway Agency executive director Joe Keller said growing levels of sediment have been clogging the system, which has the most recreational boats per mile in the country.

"It's the most-traveled per-acre system of water throughout the entire United States of America," he said.

Runoff from islands and farms has deposited more sediment at the bottom of the waterway than the agency can keep up with.

Since the state hasn't come through with $300,000 in funding for the agency in the last two budget years, Fox Waterway has raised the price of annual boat stickers, and has asked the private sector to help cover the costs of dredging.


Keller said he hopes to find a local company to accept the nutrient-rich soil, so they don't have to pay large fees to haul it away.

Then he'd like to sell it to nearby farmers.

"Pump the material in the Grass Lake into these areas, and essentially market the material. Sell the material, which will help sustain the agency's efforts, and really recycle and put that material back into local farm fields, yards, and gardens," he said.

Keller also said there are plenty of charitable trusts run by large corporations in Lake County that he hopes to approach for donations.

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