Contact(s): Lloyd Eagan, South Central Regional Director, (608) 275-3260
PORTAGE, WI - In a letter to residents near Portage and Blackhawk Park sent last week, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provided an update on conditions that might be expected along the area's portion of the Wisconsin River this spring and asked for cooperation in the coming weeks.
The probabilities for high water exist this spring due to seasonal rainfall and snowmelt. DNR is closely monitoring water levels, and will take appropriate actions during periods of high water in the safest manner possible. These efforts will be done in conjunction with local governments, dam safety engineers and other state personnel.
Last fall the Wisconsin River in the Portage area reached historic levels. Flooding was seen in several areas surrounding Portage and Blackhawk Park. During this high water event, local emergency government officials asked residents close to the Caledonia Levees and the Blackhawk Park area to evacuate their homes to ensure their safety.
Despite the 20.6 foot water level the Lewiston and Caledonia Levee System made it through the fall event without a complete breach. However, the 20.6 foot water level should not be used by residents as a benchmark for safeness or as a measure of when it is safe to stay within your home if an evacuation notice is issued. Structure failures are often an accumulation of many storms and flooding events, not just the damaging factors of one event.
If warnings are issued and evacuations are ordered, DNR strongly encourages all affected residents to cooperate with the directions given in the notice. Remaining at home after evacuation notices are issued risks the safety of both residents and emergency personnel.