In advance of a County Board vote on Wed., Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele held a press event Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 9:30 a.m. at Estabrook Dam calling for the Board to sustain Abele’s expected veto of additional funding for repair of the Estabrook Dam, and to instead remove the dam to achieve more effective fish passage at half the cost.
In a 10-7 vote, the County Board last week voted to increase spending to repairs at Estabrook Dam by $750,000 to include a fish passage, bringing the total capital cost of repairing the dam with fish passage to $3.4 million, which does not include ongoing operation and maintenance costs.
This one time cost of removing the dam is half of that, $1.7 million.
Total cost for dam repair, including operations and maintenance over the 20 year life expectancy of the dam in over $6 million.
Aside from being the more fiscally responsible option, dam removal is more environmentally friendly.
The dam causes water quality problems, impedes fish passage, and increases flood risk for upstream homeowners.
It is unknown what the proposed fish passage around a repaired Estabrook Dam will look like, as there has been no design put forth that can pass fish while not increasing upstream flooding.
The most effective fish passage is dam removal. Milwaukee Riverkeeper has joined with citizens, fishermen, property owners, and elected officials to call for the removal of the Estabrook Dam.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the City of Milwaukee Common Council, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Village of Shorewood, and hundreds of Glendale residents have supported dam removal.