Another local fisherman and concerned citizen is Mike Carson. He formerly worked for the city mowing grass.
Carson doesn’t know why the issue of removing the dams has come back up. He attended the dam committee meetings going back to around 2005.
“The overall opinion was to leave the dams alone,” he said.
Those wanting the dams removed were a drowning victim’s father and his friend, Carson said.
Others were waiting for all state reports too, he added.
Carson said there are Asian carp below the dam now and if the dam is removed, they will proceed to eat all the other fish’s plankton, etc.
“I fished the Wabash all my life. It’s terrible,” he said of the Asian carp invasion. “It’s nothing like it was.”
Carson doesn’t believe the removal of the dams will improve sporting in the area.
“People can’t get down there now with a boat ...,” he said.
He also adds, “you can’t stop accidents.”
Carson again said he thought this issue was “over and done with. The state of Illinois has no business jumping on this at all.”
He said the state has enough problems with paying its bills. Using money for this is “ridiculous,” he added.
“I don’t know why it’s come back up again,” he said, adding that he thinks the issue is partly casino related.
The Ellsworth Park dam was built in 1931-1932 to make the water deeper upriver to the north, where the city built a swimming beach. That was cheaper than building a public swimming pool. There was a swimming area at Ellsworth Park and a pavilion on the east bank.
Swimming has been prohibited at Ellsworth Park for many years, but the dam remains.
The Vermilion River dam was constructed in 1914. It’s a low-head, run-of-river concrete dam across the Vermilion River.