FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 6, 2017
Contact: Mary Zimmermann
Dam Removal Alternatives Explored July 20 in River Falls, WI
River Falls, WI – The fifth in a series of “Tech Talks,” part of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor community planning process, will be held Thursday, July 20, from 5:30-8 p.m., at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 211 East Division Street in River Falls. Titled “Dam Removal Alternatives,” the event is open to the public; refreshments will be served. Approximately 150 community members are expected to attend.
The Tech Talk is part of the City of River Falls’ comprehensive, multi-year planning process to determine the future of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor and the City's two hydroelectric facilities.
The discussion Thursday will include three parts:
5:30-6:30 p.m.: The City will host an open house style poster session focused on what the river might look like if the dams were removed, what general costs and financing options might be considered, similar projects in other communities including dam removal and mill pond restoration, the relicensing process, and the relationship of storm management to the health of the river.
6:30-7:30 p.m.: A facilitated panel discussion will feature three regional experts in river ecology and stream restoration, dam construction and removal, lake restoration and stormwater management, and hydropower and the regulatory environment.
The panel will include:
Cheryl Laatsch - Coordinator, Statewide Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Laatsch is responsible for coordinating the agency’s environmental and regulatory oversight of 130+ hydroelectric dams in Wisconsin. Prior to working with hydropower, she was one of the WDNR project managers for large wind, transmission, distribution, and pipeline projects. She has extensive knowledge and permitting expertise in waterway and wetlands, project management, technical oversight, and regulatory compliance for complex utility projects.
Ismael Martinez - President, IMO Consulting
Martinez has over 34 years of experience in water resources engineering and has managed multi-disciplinary projects including storm water and water resources planning; hydraulic design; and stream and wetland restoration planning. During his career, he has designed nine dams, and removed two. In addition, he has built hydraulic physical models of large dams in Mexico and Peru. Since 1989, he has been involved in the implementation and design of much of the water resources infrastructure in Chaska, Eagan, and Rochester, MN, and Hudson, WI.
Marty Melchior - Regional Director, Inter-Fluve, Inc.
Melchior is an accomplished stream ecologist, having completed over 200 assessment and restoration projects across the country. His specialties include dams, trout stream restoration, natural channel design, forensic fluvial geomorphology, construction management and large woody debris dynamics. He has authored numerous articles on geomorphology and the ecological effects of small dams. Prior to joining Inter-Fluve in 2000, he worked as a fisheries biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Final Tech Talk and Charrette
The Final Tech Talk, “Recreation and Tourism,” is Sept. 7, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Bridget Catholic Church. A four-day community design workshop, or charrette, will be held Oct. 25-28, 2017 at the River Falls Public Library.
In late 2013, the City of River Falls began the federal relicensing process for its two hydroelectric dams on a segment of the Kinnickinnic River that runs through the urban core. On March 17, 2016, FERC granted a request for a five-year license extension for the River Falls Hydroelectric Project. The City’s deadline to notify FERC of its intention to relicense or surrender the licenses is August 31, 2018.