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DNR's Estabrook dam final Environmental Impact Statement [PDF].
Milwaukee County's Estabrook dam Environmental Impact Report [PDF].
Contact information
For information on the DNR's review of this project, contact:
Bill Sturtevant
Water regulations and zoning engineer

Estabrook dam proposed repair and operation

Milwaukee County has proposed repairing the deteriorating Estabrook Dam in Milwaukee County. The County has also proposed water levels and an operational standard for the dam.

Project description

On July 28, 2009 the DNR sent Milwaukee County, owner of the dam, an Administrative Order to Repair or Abandon the Estabrook Dam (Order). The Order was required to protect public health and safety and to ensure the dam meets acceptable design standards. Milwaukee County has indicated that the dam will be repaired. The impoundment is currently drawn down and will not be refilled until all outstanding repairs have been completed. The deadline for completing repairs is December 31, 2016.

Since Milwaukee County has made the decision to repair, operate, and maintain Estabrook Dam, the County will be working in cooperation with the DNR to establish an operating order for the dam. The operating order will clarify and establish water levels and specify operational standards the dam. Water levels are regulated by the DNR under s. 31.02, Wis. Stats. The goal is to develop an operating order that will improve the Milwaukee River ecosystem as well as balance the needs of riparians, recreational users and Milwaukee County.

EIS process

The DNR has followed and completed the environmental impact statement (EIS) process for review of the Estabrook Dam proposed repair and water levels.

Environmental impact report

Milwaukee County submitted an environmental impact report (EIR) [PDF] on October 9, 2015. The EIR is the County's description of their proposed project, proposed water levels, and their analysis of the potential environmental effects. The public copies of the EIR and additional information have been redacted to remove non-public biological information. The county inadvertently titled their EIR document as an EIS. A draft EIS has been prepared by the DNR.

The DNR has requested additional information from the county in a November 23, 2015 letter [PDF].

The DNR has reviewed all the information provided, and has considered it in the development of the DNR's draft EIS.

Public review opportunities

DNR prepared a draft environmental impact statement (dEIS), and held a public hearing on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at Glen Hills Middle School, 2600 West Mill Road in Glendale. The department received 716 comments during the public comment period. Thanks to all who submitted comments or attended the hearing.

DNR has considered all public comments and has prepared a final EIS [PDF] which is available on the department's web site. The department has completed its review under the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act, section 1.11, Stats., and chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code.

The public has had numerous opportunities for input on the project over several years which have helped the DNR to determine the scope of the EIS.

EIS process steps

The EIS process is outlined in Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code [PDF exit DNR].

This EIS will follow these general steps.

  1. Permit application received.
  2. Decision to follow the EIS process.
  3. Public announcement and scoping - defining the topics and information sources to be considered and the analytical methods to be employed.
  4. Information gathering and analysis.
  5. Draft EIS document preparation.
  6. Draft EIS public review - 30 day public comment period and hearing.
  7. Comment response - the department will consider all comments received, and may revise the analysis if warranted.
  8. Public notified when final EIS is complete and department has made a determination of compliance with the requirements of Chapter NR 150 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, and section 1.11 of the Wisconsin Statutes. < we are here
  9. Final permit decisions can be made after the final EIS and determination.
Contact information
For information on the DNR's review of this project, contact:
Bill Sturtevant
Water regulations and zoning engineer
Last revised: Tuesday May 24 2016