January 3, 2012
MADISON - Fifteen publicly owned dams in 13 counties are in line to get $3.5 million in state grants to maintain, repair, abandon or remove the municipally owned structures, state dam safety officials announced today.
"These dams scored the highest on the priority list and have money set aside for them to address dam safety issues," says Meg Galloway, chief of dams and floodplain management for the Department of Natural Resources. "Unfortunately, we don't have enough money to meet the needs of all the communities that applied, but we are helping address the most pressing needs to keep people and property safe."
The money for the grants was appropriated through the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget and DNR administers the grant program. Eligible projects including the maintenance, repair, modification, or abandonment and removal of dams owned by municipalities.
The priority rankings are based on a point system that looks at criteria including whether the dam poses a threat to people or property downstream, the project cost and community indebtedness. The 15 dam owners must take additional steps before receiving the grant money, including submitting detailed plans for their project, according to Bill Sturtevant, state dam safety engineer.
A DNR water management engineer will be contacting each of the communities to visit its dam site and meet with its community officials to discuss its project. The maximum grant award allowable is not to exceed $400,000.
A similar allocation for municipal dam grants was made in 2009-2011, following flooding in 2008 that constituted the state's costliest natural disaster ever.
June 2008 flooding in southern Wisconsin caused estimated damages of at least $765 million dollars to businesses, residences, farm crops and public property; August 2007 floods in southern Wisconsin also caused significant damages.
In addition to dams damaged by flooding last decade and already in this decade, Wisconsin has aging dams that are in need of repair; roughly one-third of Wisconsin's 3,800 dams were built before 1940; the next third have been constructed since then. The age of the remaining third is unknown.
Municipally Owned Dams Slated to Receive Funding, listed in order of priority ranking.
Dam name, dam owner and county location
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Meg Galloway - (608) 266-7014 or Eileen Trainor - (608) 267-0848