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Wausau dam repairs will put a halt to fishing season

WAUSAU (WAOW) — WPS will start construction on the Wausau Hydro dam this spring. The project will include replacing three dams, adding a heater and electrical work.

But in order to do that, the water in the Wausau Dam Lake and in the Wisconsin River (from Brokaw to the Wausau Dam) will be drawn down 14 feet.

The draw down will likely have an impact on fish populations, so to prevent further impacts the DNR is putting in place fishing closures for the area.

“The flow conditions with reduced habitats will only be in a certain part of the river,” said DNR Fish Biologist Timothy Parks. “Which will tentatively be below Brokaw and will be more intense as you get closer to the Wausau Dam.”

Fishing closures will begin on May 1 when the draw down begins.

On Monday at an informational meeting about the fishing closures, residents expressed their concern with WPS over the lack of community input sessions.

“Normally you have public input sessions for quite a while leading up to a decision like this and weigh alternatives,” said on resident.

WPS said they were not required to have public input sessions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But said they did have to meet with local environmental groups.

Kelly Zagrzebsky, a WPS representative, said that in addition to dam repairs, the draw down will also help other groups, including the white water kayaking course.

“They’re actually going to be improving their kayak course, so this is actually allowing them a good summer to keep that course world class,” said Zagrzebsky.

She said it will also give the parks and recreation department a chance to do shoreline maintenance along the river.

Sarah McGrew

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