Willow River Dam construction ramping up
By Paul Vold firstname.lastname@example.org (12/29/20)
(Willow River, MN) — Construction is ramping up heading into the New Year at the Willow River Dam in the Stanton Lake area to divert the river channel to restore water levels and preserve water recreation for residents and users of the community campground.
The Willow River Dam, previously built in the 1940’s, breached in July 2016 after a large flood overtopped the dam and eroded the adjacent embankment. Workers temporarily dewatered the work area so they could remove the failed concrete dam. In the next phase of construction, expected to last into February, a series of steps and slopes will reshape the riverbed. Base rock and large boulders will be placed to create arch rapids.
With the extensive nature of the construction and heavy equipment needed to perform the work, the adjacent Willow River City Park, now a staging area for construction materials, is closed to visitors. For safety reasons, visitors should obey the closure signs and watch for large trucks on area roadways.
The $1.8 million project is funded by capital bonding dollars appropriated in 2017 by the Minnesota Legislature, with the final phase of construction in the spring, rock placements will be touched up, a trail along the rock rapids will be created, and vegetation planted. The new design will also restore passage for fish, mussels, and other aquatic life that the former dam blocked, and eliminate the drowning hazard associated with the previous dam structure.