Manawa City Council members heard a special presentation from Scott Koehnke of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at their regular council meeting, Monday, July 25.
Koehnke provided an overview and answered questions regarding the benefits of drawing down the mill pond. Council is currently gathering information and looking at obtaining grant funds for future repairs to the dam in Manawa.
The dam is currently considered high risk, and city council has approved engineering study costs in the amount of $29,500 through Mead and Hunt.
Koehnke explained that a draw down can have positive results on mill ponds. He said that a draw down is a much more cost effective approach in doing the necessary repairs needed to the dam, and he said it would provide other benefits like the opportunity to initiate weed management strategies.
Koehnke also told council members that a draw down year will show long term benefits and provide an opportunity to clean up the pond, decrease milfoil, and allow them to analyze properties for erosion, and muskrat control.
He also reported that with proper DNR assistance there may be opportunities to rip rap, re-grade and re-slope certain shorelines.
He said that a draw down would still allow a certain amount of water flow through to maintain the downstream end of the mill pond, and he explained a typical draw down would drop water levels about four inches per day. After a draw down, he explained, vegetation does return but is much more manageable. Fishing takes about 2-3 years to resume back to what it was, and DNR assistance is also available for restocking.
He said the City could also choose to establish fish refuges or make emergency rules on catch and release to bring the fishing back sooner.