MADISON -- Rob Stafsholt (R - New Richmond) issued the following statement after Joint Committee on Finance approved funding for Clam Falls Dam in Polk County:
Several months ago, I was contacted about the proposed removal of the Clam Falls Dam. We started having meetings and snowballing ideas looking for solutions with the utility company that owns the dam, Polk County, Clam Falls Township, local business owners, local residents, and people who recreate on the Clam Falls Flowage. After some work, we came up with a plan, but it needed some financial support from the State. Representative Magnafici and I got to work by drafting and submitting a budget motion with our plan to save the Clam Falls Dam to the Joint Committee on Finance.
“I am pleased to announce that the committee has approved our plan to save the Clam Falls Dam. The much needed funding will go towards making the necessary repairs so that Polk County can take over ownership of the Clam Falls Dam. This is a huge step towards saving the dam.”
In May 2017, the DNR designated the dam a significant hazard, starting a five-year clock for the dam to be brought up to standard. The dam must be able to pass a 500-year flood without failing or overtopping. Without the funding, the dam would have been removed. Removal of the dam would devastate the lake, local businesses, and the reduced property values would lead to increased taxes on the rest of the property owners in the township. In addition, removal would have effected downstream habitat degradation from sediment transport volume, upstream habitat degradation from invasive species migration, and loss of impoundment wetlands and floodwater storage.
“I want to thank Representative Gae Magnafici for her great work of effectively communicating our plan with her colleagues and navigating it through on the Assembly side. It truly was a shared effort and couldn’t have been done without her. I also want to recognize the members of the Joint Committee on Finance for working with me over the last few months to get this done for my area.”
[Photo: Senator Stafsholt meeting with local advocates at the Clam Falls Dam to tell them that his request for funding had made it in the State Budget through the Joint Finance Committee.]