City seeks ideas for Flandreau dam


The city of Flandreau will be explaining proposals to remove the dam on the Big Sioux River and will take input of ideas at an informational meeting May 18.
The open house, come-and-go style event from 4 to 7 p.m., will help city council members understate what, if anything, the residents want the city to do, said Jeff Pederson, city administrator.
“The city values the public’s contributions, and it will influence the decision. No decision to implement a project has been made yet,” he said. “This public participation activity is part of the process that would proceed any formal or financial decision by the council.”
The city will have exhibits showing the dam alternatives and will have presentations at 4:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., followed by public questions.
“We’re committed to engaging with the public on this,” Pederson said.
A project engineer with Barr Engineering and a fisheries biologist, Kip Rounds, will present information.
The idea to remove the dam is based on a safer recreational opportunity for the public, an effort that started several years ago when Mark Bonrud was mayor. The city started working with other government entities toward having a study done, which finally has been completed.
City council members voted earlier this year to have Barr continue with one of its five proposals to show a little more of what removing the dam would look like from the city park to the dam itself. Barr’s design, as presented to the council, was a starting point.
The removal of the dam, under the proposed plan, would not only lower the water level at the dam site dramatically, but it would lower water levels in the city park and the golf course by several feet, at times. Water at the dam would be about 9 feet lower.
Anglers are attracted to the dam because fish congregate below the dam. Paddlers use the area and portage around the dam. If the dam is removed, the river will flow a little faster, engineers have said.
Residents have expressed concerns about a loss of attractive fish habitat and river levels that could be too low in the city park.
Costs for the proposed project are estimated at $1.5 million to remove the historic structure and other design elements. A low estimate is $1.28 million, while a high estimate is $1.96 million.
At the community meeting, council members may be present to hear concerns, but it will not be a formal public meeting in which any decisions or votes will be made.

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