Phase II: Study
City partners with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study benefits of restoring the Kinnickinnic River
The City of River Falls signed a Federal Cost Share Agreement between the City and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to study the both the cost and environmental benefits of restoring the Kinnickinnic River to its natural setting by removing one or both hydroelectric dams. By signing this agreement the City and the USACE will enter into an 18- to 24-month study phase. Recommendations from the study will then be presented to City Council. If the City agrees, Federal funding of up to $10 million would be available for removal of one or both of the dams.
“We are eager to partner with the Army Corp to determine what the project with Federal funding might look like for this study,” said City Administrator Scot Simpson. If you were going to create a federal agency to help us get our vision accomplished – the Army Corps is it.”
Steve Goff, Vice President of the Kinni Corridor Collaborative, attended the meeting to present a check for $50,000 to help fund the local match share. “I believe the Army Corps involvement is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Goff. “Providing half of the local match for the study is an important step in moving this project forward.”
The Army Corps’ role will be similar to that of a consultant for the City. Corps staff will conduct the research, and City staff will support their efforts by providing needed documents and data. The initial $100,000 of the study’s costs will be fully covered with federal funds, while any further costs will be split equally between the Corps and the City.
Community engagement and outreach is a federal requirement the Corps must fulfill while completing the study. River Falls community members can expect a variety of engagement opportunities to be announced throughout the process. Opportunities may include open houses, surveys, and online feedback tools.
According to Nathan Wallerstedt, the Corps’ Chief of the Project Management Branch, partnering with the City of River Falls on this project could potentially restore more than a mile of river and 31 acres of habitat. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”
Says Community Development Director and Project Manager, Amy Peterson, “this agreement moves forward the vision of the City Council and the community to have a free flowing Kinni in the future. It holds so many possibilities for our community.”