Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DNR study looks to future of Princeton Dam

GREEN BAY - The future design of the state-owned dam on the Fox River at Princeton will be the subject of a public meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at Princeton High School.

The low-head dam -located three river miles upstream of the Village of Princeton in Green Lake County - impounds water that affects the level of Lake Puckaway, a large shallow lake on the Fox River.

The dam is operated by the Lake Puckaway Protection and Rehabilitation District under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Natural Resources. The agreement authorizes the LPPRD to seasonally modify water levels by placing or removing flashboards above the fixed spillway.

In October 2012 a contractor hired by LPPRD fell off the dam during flashboard removals. It was a "near miss" with no injuries. As a result of the incident report, the DNR conducted a risk assessment in April 2013, finding that operation of the dam in its present state is not safe.

The DNR and LPPRD developed a new set of operating procedures and liability insurance requirements allowing the LPPRD to operate the dam on an interim basis until it can be modified for safe operation.

The DNR has committed to a dam evaluation study and a firm, MWH, will begin work on the study later this month. This public meeting will outline study objectives and give interested individuals the opportunity to gain more insight into the study and ask questions of DNR and MWH staff. The meeting format will be a brief presentation shortly after 6 p.m. followed by an open house to facilitate one on one conversations with DNR staff.

Princeton High School is located off S. Fulton Street, or State 73, on the village's southeast side.

The study will:

� Assess the condition of the existing spillway, earthen portions and gated lock channel.

� Estimate the cost for two extreme cases: complete dam reconstruction or dam removal.

� Estimate costs for three spillway modifications to meet DNR objectives of effective water level management and the safety of the public and dam operators.

� The alternatives include a raised, fixed-crest spillway, the installation of an inflatable bladder; or replacement of the flashboard system with added physical restraints for operator safety.

� All three alternatives will include modification the downstream river channel to minimize the roller effect (a drowning hazard) created by the force of water flowing over the dam.

� All three of the spillway alternatives will include estimates for either a channel fish passage or a bypass fish ladder.

� A cost estimate for an electric fish barrier to prevent the passage of carp will be will be an option that may be added to any selected alternative.

Individuals with questions about the meeting or the study can contact Aaron Buchholz, DNR district land program manager, at 920-662-5115 or at

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