Dam removal planned in Fort Dodge

The two dams that span the Des Moines River in Fort Dodge would be removed during the winter of 2018-2019, according to a plan presented to the City Council Monday.

Once the dams are gone, some type of structures will be built in the river to direct the water and reduce stream bed erosion. One of those types of structures, a rock crest weir, was used in Charles City to create some whitewater kayaking and canoeing on the Cedar River.

Removing the Hydroelectric Dam and the one south of the Kenyon Road Bridge commonly called the Little Dam would cost an estimated $4.3 million, according to Wade Greiman, a project manager with Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny.

Most of that money, an estimated $3.55 million, would be spent on removing the Hydroelectric Dam.

He said removing the Little Dam would cost an estimated $750,000.

Money for getting rid of both dams would be included in a proposed $9 million general obligation bond issue the council will consider on March 12.

Greiman said staffers from his firm have been out in boats taking measurements of the dams.

The dams would be removed in phases, he said. He added that a concrete wall on the western riverbank near the Hydroelectric Dam would also be removed.

Local leaders will have a choice of structures to be created after the Hydroeletric Dam is gone. One option is what Nicole Church, an environmental specialist with Snyder & Associates, called a ”J-hook.” It would be a structure north of the Hydroelectric Dam site that would look like the letter J. Church said it would direct the flow of water while creating areas that would be good for fishing.

The other possibility is rock crest weirs. Church said a number of those were used to create the whitewater attraction in Charles City.

Removal of the dams was recommended in a riverfront masterplan adopted by the council last year.

”I think this is going to be a great improvement in the condition of the river,” Councilman Terry Moehnke said.

The council took no action on the plan Monday.

Greiman said there will be multiple steps to complete over several months before demolition of the dams can begin.