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Rest Lake dam
Public meetings

The DNR hosted three public information meetings prior to determining a new operating order for the Rest Lake Dam. All three sessions were recorded and are available as streaming video.

Contact information
If you have questions about the Rest Lake dam four-year agreement, contact:
Russ Rasmussen

Rest Lake dam

The Rest Lake dam is regulated by the state of Wisconsin under Chapter 31 Wisconsin Statutes.

Four-year agreement with Chippewa and Flambeau Improvement Co.

The DNR has gained a four-year agreement with Chippewa and Flambeau Improvement Co., a unit of Xcel Energy, to maintain predictable water levels on the Manitowish Chain of Lakes through the operations of the Rest Lake dam and provide increased downstream flows in the spring. To address concerns of property owners above and below the dam, the agreement:

  • provides for more water downstream in the spring to improve habitat for spawning fish;
  • allows for more gradual change in downstream water levels;
  • sets an increased minimum flow of water throughout the year; and
  • calls for an earlier conclusion to the fall drawdown of Rest Lake.

In addition to representing input from area stakeholders, the agreement was drafted with practical aspects of the dam operation in mind. Also, to help stakeholders monitor conditions on the Manitowish Chain of Lakes and the Manitowish River, dam owner Chippewa and Flambeau Improvement Co. has agreed to install a downstream gauge and provide monitoring and reporting of both chain water levels as well as downstream flows.

The agreement was signed in April 2016. The agreement will operate within the structure of the existing 1939 operating order for the Rest Lake Dam, which will remain in effect.

Overview of the 2014 draft order

In May 2014 the DNR issued a draft operating order for the Rest Lake dam that controls water levels and flows in the Manitowish chain of lakes and Manitowish River. The draft order was very controversial and will not be finalized at this time. The 2014 draft operating order sought to restore a more natural water cycle on the chain. The order provided for higher year-round lake levels, increased river flows and more predictable dam operations.

Public input and comments

The public comment period for the 2014 draft order ended September 5, 2014. The DNR received and evaluated several hundred comments representing several points of view on the draft order.

Receive updates on Rest Lake dam

Updates on the Rest Lake project will be posted to this Web page and distributed by email using the GovDelivery distribution lists. If you have not already subscribed to the GovDelivery service for Rest Lake updates, you can sign up to receive an email notice:

Last revised: Tuesday April 12 2016