A natural landmark on the Augustana College campus is getting an overhaul.

Work on draining the Augustana Slough began Sunday morning, Nov. 12, when a member of the facilities department went out in a boat to turn the valve to begin the draining at 10:15 a.m. It then took about 12 hours for most of the waters of the Slough to recede down a drain, with water flowing towards the Mississippi River, according to a college release Wednesday.

The Augustana Slough seen on Nov. 15, 2023.

In this first week of the project, most activity at the site will include bringing needed equipment to the Slough and installing temporary fencing for safety and the protection of campus sidewalks.

Orange fencing now encircles the large sycamore tree near the gazebo. The project was scheduled for this time of year because the colder weather means underground tree roots are better protected, the college said.

As promised, the Slough Path remains open for pedestrian use – although passage by the Slough is a bit less scenic and a bit more fragrant.

One of the Slough photo contest winners, submitted by Stephanie Carreno, a 2023 grad.

Augustana also offered congratulations to Slough photo contest winners – Alexis Hutson ’17, Stephanie Carreno ’23, Tui Harned ’98, Allie Glazer (nee Matuszewski) ’10 and Joni Lawson ’97.

A Slough photo contest winner, submitted by Alexis Hutson ’17.

The Slough project will require a temporary disruption to the street parking on the west side of 38th Street hill. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 14, an estimated 12 spots will be unavailable for use to allow for the staging of equipment for this City of Rock Island project. In addition to parking in the WVIK parking lot, campus is encouraged to use the Centennial Hall parking lot.

It is expected that street parking will return to normal prior to the beginning of January term.

Tui Harned (Class of ’98) took this photo of her daughter, Maddy, on a campus visit when she was 8. Maddy is now a sophomore at Augie, majoring in communication sciences and disorders.

On Nov. 12, crews from the city of Rock Island began draining the Slough in order to relocate a water pipe. The project, which will move a primary water line from under the Slough to under the Slough Path, will allow for easier access to the pipe in the event of future needed repairs.

City Council members approved the work on Oct. 9, with this city-funded project aimed at preventing another incident like the one in June 2017, when an old city pipe under the Slough collapsed and flooded parts of lower campus.

The Slough in its natural fall habitat.

The Slough Path is expected to remain open for campus and community use through the fall semester, with a short closure planned during the January term as the project moves into its final phase. Work is expected to be completed by the start of the spring semester in February. At that time, the Slough will be fully restored.