DNR approves Pigeon Lake drawdown

Clintonville to start process Sept. 3

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent

The city of Clintonville has received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to draw down Pigeon Lake to help with repairing the city’s dam.

City Administrator Sharon Eveland said the city initially planned to begin the process of drawing down mid-September but will instead begin Sept. 3. The DNR told the city must stop the process by Oct. 1.

The Clintonville Common Council had approved the drawdown in May.

According to Eveland, it is the city’s intent to refill the lake as soon as possible but the DNR will not allow the refilling until May 15, 2019, even if repairs are completed before that date. She said the city has been talking to the DNR about help with restocking the lake with fish.

The project was rebid with consideration for a drawdown. The city received three bids to rebuild the dam if they draw down the water. The Michaels Corp. bid for $426,785 was approved.

The city has received a grant to cover $218,182 of the cost to repair the dam, and the rest of the money will come from the capital projects fund.

Alderman Jim Supanich stated at the May meeting that the Pigeon Lake Rehabilitation District agreed with the drawdown.

“They think it’s a good opportunity,” Supanich said. “The amount of silt is building up. If it’s not removed within the next few years, the average depth in the pond is going to be around three feet. And with the organic buildup from the weeds that are dying off, the oxygen content is actually dropping and in a few years it will not support fish life.”

The Pigeon Lake Rehabilitation District has $220,000 to do some dredging of the lake. They have not decided if it will be by hydro dredging, which is more expensive than mechanical dredging.

Supanich warned that if there was an imminent dam failure the DNR will likely not allow the city the opportunity to rebuild the dam.

Eveland said that while the decision to downdraft the lake is going to have a short-term negative impact, in the long run it is the best decision for the city and the repairs to the dam, along with the dredging work the Pigeon Lake District intends to do, will result in major improvements to the lake.