Lake cleanup project to cost $150,000

Clintonville residents express concern at DNR hearing
By: 

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent

The Pigeon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District plans to use $150,000 to clean up 6.4 acres near Mathew’s Supper Club on Eighth Street.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held a special public informational hearing Wednesday night at the Fox Valley Technical College campus in Clintonville to gather information regarding the district’s proposal for a dredging project.

According to Scott Koehnke, DNR water management specialists, the district had originally applied for a permit to do a $2 million dredging project in four areas of the pond. It has scaled that down to do cleanup and dredging of the southern bay near Mathew’s Supper Club on Eighth Street at a cost of up to $150,000.

The DNR has tentatively determined that it will issue the permit. Before it gives its final approval, however, it will take into consideration the statements gathered from those attending the hearing Wednesday night and submitted information received from others. Koehnke said the permit is for three years.

The lake is expected to be filled in May. Should the dam repairs not be completed by that time, the refill may be delayed.

Pigeon Lake is now drawn down to allow for dam repairs.

“I have been here since 2000 and the dam has been in bad shape for the last 20 years,” said Koehnke after a resident asked why the water was drawn down rather than installing a coffer dam.

Peter Haug, an engineer with Ayers Associates, explained that it was an economic decision by the city. Koehnke explained that there are two different projects and the dredging has nothing to do with the dam repair project.

Ayers Associates is the firm working with the Pigeon Lake Rehabilitation District.

“With the loss of wildlife, the dead turtles and fish, was it (project) worth it?” resident Bonnie Parry said.

“I think this is absolutely ridiculous with of the loss of the fish and wildlife to benefit a handful of people with lake frontage. It is ridiculous,” resident Jay Parry said.

Resident Mike Wilson was concerned because he said he was told at an earlier meeting that there would be no dredging and now he hears there will be some.

Wilson was concerned that by digging in the lake they don’t know what they will find as a junkyard was located there years ago. He has been told there may be cars or even tanks of oil.

“Who will pay to clean that up?” he said.

A resident was concerned about blastomycosis in the soil that will be spread at the airport. Koehnke suggested that anyone with those concerns should contact the state Department of Health with their questions, but claimed there isn’t a good test for blastomycosis.

Koehnke said the district wants to increase the depth of the lake and it was not his decision if it was a good idea or not, they only need to determine if it has an adverse environmental impact. Koehnke stated that the lake will begin to fill up with silt again as long as there is a dam. He said he deals with situations like the one in Clintonville in many communities that have mill ponds. Dredging can be expensive but the district determined it would be less expensive if it was done while the water was drained.

Any member of the public may submit written comments by emailing scott.koehnke@wisconsin.gov or writing to 647 Lakeland Road, Shawano, WI 54166.