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Te beautiful Fox River, the third largest tributary of the Illinois River, begins its journey in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, flowing 115 miles south, draining parts of McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, Cook, DuPage, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee and Will counties to join up with the Illinois River in Ottawa.

Te Fox River basin that contains the river runs 130 miles long, but seldom exceeds 25 miles wide, yet it includes 1,720 square miles of widely diverse ecosystems and landscapes. Only swamps are missing. Everything else is here -- wetlands, urban sprawl and agricultural areas, parkways, glacially formed lakes in the northern Illinois section, and, in the sourthern section, bluffs. Overall, there are 406 lakes along the Fox River, with the Chain O’Lakes the largest.

In its northern reaches, the river is its most pristine with its wetlands and lakes. Te middle Fox is an urban river, flowing past six cities with populations of up to 150,000; in its southern extremes, it flows through an

agricultural area of rolling farm fields and meadows, giving way at last to picturesque, high bluffs. Geography, geology over a 115-mile journey

Te Pleistocene glaciers 10,000 to 15,000 years ago moved southward from Wisconsin into Illinois and then retreated, in many cycles over thousands of years, shaping and reshaping the landscape by first scraping it bare, and then leaving behind deposits of sand and gravel. As the glaciers melted and retreated, in addition to the deposits, they gave rise to torrential meltwater channels that created river valleys. Today’s Fox River is located in a remnant of one of these channels.

Kames, kettle holes, moraines, glacial lakes, and eskers are names geologists have given to deposits left behind by the glacial activity. Te different names result from the method of the deposit’s formations. For

instance, a kame was created when sand and gravel built up in a depression in the glacial ice. Some of the regional kames can be found in Glacial Park in McHenry County, and Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve and Bald Mound in Kane County. Eskers are formed when a stream that once ran through a melting glacier dries up, leaving behind silt and gravel deposits. One example is the Kaneville Esker located in Kane County near the East-West Tollway. Kettles were created when large chunks of ice broke off from the glacier, creating ponds that eventually became marshes, fens or bogs, or sometimes glacial lakes.

Kames located near the Visitor Center at Glacial Park in McHenry County - 4 -

Overview of the Fox River

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