Minnesota Dams (Section 524) - Overview

Bronson DamSection 524 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000) provided for inventory, inspection, modification and/or rehabilitation of dams originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, and Works Projects Administration (WPA) in Minnesota. Oversight of 361 of the original 417 WPA dams falls to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through the office of the State Dam Safety Engineer. The rest are owned and operated by individual counties and the National Park Service.



The St. Paul District inventoried these dams and prepared a report for the Secretary of the Army in 2003. This report included an assessment of their condition, and recommended further study on:

- Bronson Lake dam, Kittson County, MN-7
- New London dam, Kandiyohi County, MN-7
- South Blue Mounds dam, Rock County, MN-1
- Clayton Lake dam, Pine County, MN-8
- Balsam Lake dam, Itasca County, MN-8
- Champlin Mill Pond dam,
   Hennepin County, MN-3
- Warren Lake dam, Cottonwood County, MN-1
- Clearwater River dam, Stearns County, MN-6
- Breckenridge dam,
   Wilkin County (removed), MN-7


No Federal action has been taken on the recommen- dations made in the 2003 report. The State is taking action on these dams with available State funds.

Lake Bronson: The DNR completed an independent feasibility study in 2008, with an implementation cost estimated at $9 million. The DNR is finalizing a detailed hydrologic and hydraulic analysis and has $800,000 budgeted for the project design. Funding for construction is not secured.

New London: The DNR completed a $2.6 Million project in 2011 to construct a new labyrinth weir and spillway.

Clayton Lake: The DNR is finalizing plans for reconstruction of the dam. Construction repairs estimated at $325,000 will be scheduled once historic preservation issues are addressed.

Champlin Mill Pond: The city of Champlin has developed preliminary plans to repair the dam as part of a city park project. The DNR has $250,000 budgeted for the dam repair project.

South Blue Mounds: Plans to fix the dam are on hold due to lack of State funding.

Balsam Lake: Plans to fix the dam are on hold due to lack of State funding.

Authority and Fiscal

Section 524, WRDA 2000, provided for inventory and inspection and for remedial action if a dam presents an imminent and substantial risk to public safety.

The inventory and assessment were federally funded. The implementation phase may be cost-shared 65 percent Federal and 35 percent non-Federal, up to a total Federal limit of $7 million.