There are currently two dams on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The Kinnickinnic River is a class 1 trout stream and the river section along River Falls is highly degraded because of impoundments. The removal of the Powell Falls Dam, and possibly Junction Falls Dam present a unique opportunity to restore the river to its natural setting.
The project is located along the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles east of St. Paul, Minnesota. River Falls is approximately 10 miles upstream of the river’s confluence with the St. Croix River. The study area is in downtown River Falls.
Prior to the dams being constructed, the Kinnickinnic River was a free-flowing river with natural waterfalls. Prior to the construction of the dams, the river flowed over the upper part of Junction Falls, dropping roughly 10 feet before flatting out for 100 feet then dropping an additional 16 feet over the lower falls. Dams have been shown to have negative impacts on the ecosystem. The impoundments of Lake George and Lake Louise have resulted in increased sedimentation, high water temperatures, and lack of aquatic diversity.
The project sponsor, the city of River Falls, requested assistance from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to determine the feasibility of developing an aquatic ecosystem restoration project by researching the federal interest in removing Powell Dam or removing both Powell and Junction Dams.
A Federal Interest Determination was completed and approved in March 2022. The Review Plan was approved by Mississippi Valley Division in February and the Feasibility Cost Share Agreement was executed March.
The Corps is currently involved in the feasibility study and held a public meeting on August 15 at the City of River Falls public library. The project delivery team is working to meet the Tentatively Selected Plan milestone in December 2023. The anticipated final report approval is targeted for March 2024. The study will be cost shared 50% federal and 50% non-federal with an expected total approximate cost of $750,000.
Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, as amended.
Federal funding provided to date: