Estabrook Dam Fish Passage


The goal of this project is to provide aquatic organism passage at Estabrook Dam. Estabrook Dam is the furthest downstream and complete aquatic organism passage barrier on the Milwaukee River. It is a critical link to providing access to habitat in the upstream portions of the Milwaukee River. The dam is a barrier to aquatic organism passage when closed, however it has been open since 2008 due to safety concerns. The dam owner, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), has chosen to remove the dam, which will provide fish and aquatic organism passage. Fish passage at Estabrook Dam has been identified as a necessary management action for the Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat beneficial use impairment in the Milwaukee Estuary AOC Remedial Action Plan Update for 2016. This project is the last phase for this management action. The projects were selected in consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Technical Advisory Committee (Tech Team). The Tech Team had previously identified goals for this impairment in the Draft Milwaukee Estuary Fish and Wildlife Plan.


MMSD is proposing to remove Estabrook Dam, which will provide permanent aquatic organism passage. The scope of work for this phase of the project will include implementation of the final engineering plans, which call for complete removal of the dam structure down to the bedrock foundation (see Figures 3 & 4). This includes funds for contracting/construction, project oversight/resident engineering on behalf of the MMSD. Extensive vegetation establishment is not expected to be included in the final plans.

Study Design

The Fish and Wildlife Tech Team has identified the following necessary project elements that will be included in the final design and implementation of the Estabrook Dam Fish Passage habitat restoration project (see Appendix C, 2015 Milwaukee Estuary AOC Remedial Action Plan Update). MMSD is already incorporating these elements into the feasibility planning phase of the project. • Aquatic organism passage to upstream of the dam site. The connection should be passive (i.e. not active, such as a fish lift) and passable by aquatic organisms, with northern pike the target species to use for design purposes. • The passage may be accomplished by dam removal or through a passive fish passage structure. • Adequate buffer between aquatic habitats and development. • An invasive species and vegetation management plan (aquatic and terrestrial) that is implemented at the site. • Maintenance plan with provisions for implementation for any constructed passageway. • Some type of permanent conservation protection for any riparian portions of the site (conservation easement or equivalent).

QA Measures

Run Project Summary Report

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative