Plans for Buffalo Lake dredgebank project remain on track

With snow and ice still covering Buffalo Lake, it may feel like the drawdown project is at a standstill, but in reality, it is still on track for work to begin in May. The project is currently being bid on by construction companies and contracts should be awarded in April, according to DNR contact Brent Binder.

Bill Lewis of the Buffalo Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District cleared up confusion by some that the lake is not fully drawn down for the project and that more water needs to be released by taking out concrete at the bottom of the locks. This is not the case. The lake has been drawn down as far as it can be. However, the contractor will determine if changes to the structure can be made, which would allow for water levels to be lowered even more if needed in the future.

The need for repair of the dam that forms Buffalo Lake came to the forefront during and after the floods of 2008.  The $9 million project began with a drawdown that started September 11, 2012 and refilling the lake will begin in spring of 2014. The project will address deteriorating structural components of the aging dam, ensure public safety, maintain Buffalo Lake, and improve public boat launch and shore fishing facilities.

The dam’s earthen embankment will be fortified to increase its strength and prevent seepage.  The primary spillway will be replaced and a new fish ladder will be added.  Gates on the upstream end of the lock channel will be replaced.  The existing embankment boat launch and parking lot will be reconstructed and expanded. 

A two-way road with pedestrian path will be constructed from the boat launch parking lot north to Montello Street and one-lane emergency vehicle only road with pedestrian path will be built from the lock channel parking lot north to the boat launch parking lot.  Lighting at the Andy Krakow Public Fishing Area and boat launch parking lot will be upgraded.  An existing fishing wharf and pier will be reconstructed and additional fishing wharves will be placed along the embankment.