IMG_0348Ok I am feeling information needs to be explained a bit more slowly and clearly, and no Brett did not comment.
On the third of May 2014, just before the official trout season opener, dynamite charges planted at the base of each dam will be detonated in dramatic fashion. The explosions will be caught on camera by the international press corps; while beneath the surface of the water, Go Pro cameras will record the mayhem from the trout’s perspective. This video in particular will  go viral on youtube by the next day and protesters will be robbing and looting Steve’s Pizza and the Fox Den Used Book Store.

Ok, Good, calm down and read SLOWLY………….

I think this idea of dam removal has come up so fast, primarily because of the licensing process, that many are having a difficult time wrapping their heads around it. I honestly can feel the anxiety in all interested parties, from the special interest groups to the city council.  It is because there are so many unknowns. Unknowns are perfectly fine, it causes us to ask questions. It is getting all of the questions answered that is the difficult part.
Good leadership is wise and patient. Leaders take the time and effort to seek out the best information and expertise, do the studies and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. Absolutely no one involved wants any thing to do with mistakes when it comes to this resource.
Here is my position on dam removal.
-A learning process has just begun.
-The river temperature data that Kent Johnson has done is solid. You will not find any better expertise/information on this subject for this specific situation.
-The right questions are being asked. Information is being gathered and shared by some smart and talented people.
Removing the dams in River Falls, in concept, seems like a reasonable thought process.
-They are small in scale and beginning to deteriorate.
-They are providing little benefit to the community for their intended purpose and may have outlived their economic usefulness.
-The impounded water is heating, which is, and may become, more detrimental to the trout fishery below.
-There have been numerous dams removed from rivers in the area that we can use as examples to make informed decisions.
So far, my informed take says; the meeting on the 24th of March at River Falls City Hall is the first chance for the public to really get involved. There is a 60 day period after this meeting to submit written comments as to why or why not these dams should be relicensed. The relicensing process is a 5 YEAR PROCESS before it is complete.   Once these dams are re-licensed it is a 30 year federal permit that may be difficult to UNDO once it is done. The 5 years gives the window of opportunity to do studies and get all the questions answered to everyone’s satisfaction.  During this process if RED FLAGS pop up that say dam removal will be a bad thing for the Kinnickinnic River, its health or its inhabitants, I promise you will hear it from me and others. This process will likely move slowly and be very calculated.
The meeting will be fun, probably more like the mayhem story above. Don’t miss this one.