Friday, April 24, 2009

Yesterday's County Board meeting

At yesterday's Milwaukee County Board meeting, the vote on the Estabrook Dam was, like Gaul, divided into three parts: Dam Repair (the $5000 to repair the stop logs, as ordered by the DNR in autumn 2008), Debris Removal, and whether the idea of the many-headed Hydro Power should be studied. Results:
Repairs passed- split 16-3. Debris removal passed unanimously. Hydro** passed unanimously.
I'll patiently stop for you to either yell an early cautious "Wahoo," or start cussing.

Now, here's something that I hope you will be excited about too: the new Friends of Lincoln Park group. DH and I joined already. It's a subset of the Park People, who have a long history of being a Lorax-like voice for the Milwaukee County Parks. Many of the parks have had longstanding active Friends groups, but not Lincoln Park, my neighborhood park, which would particularly be devastated by the dam's removal. The lagoons would no longer exist. In fact it is possible that canoe rentals might even be started up again, which would be wonderful.

In fact, our real message is not “Save the Estabrook Dam” (a hunk of graffiti-covered concrete) but instead, “Save the Lincoln Park Lagoons." What would Lincoln Park would be without the impoundment of water? See for yourself. (PDF alert)

**Murray Sim of Titus Energy Management Services will be conducting the preliminary hydro study.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed something on their website, but what do Titus Energy Management Systems know about hydroelectric dams? They don't list credentials having anything to do with science, hydraulics, and water resource management.

Jason Schroeder said...

It is really not surprising to me that the County Board voted to inadequately repair the dam even after the DNR warned them that doing so would not be enough to make this dam safe. I was at a previous meeting in which I saw some County Supervisor's eyes light up when they saw the dollar signs associated with the potential hydropower from a proposed new dam. It is also not surprising that they would overlook the devastating ecological effects from such a dam.

What is a little surprising to me is the fact that Ken Leinbach from the Urban Ecology Center has made his opinion known about what should be done with the dam even though he admits that he would like to see the dam stay for several reasons. Reading his letter to the County board makes it evident that he cares about the effect on the Milwaukee River ecosystem and thus on all of our lives.

Many have stated that with the Estabrook Dam gone, Lincoln Park would be lost and the Urban Ecology Center would lose a great asset. Well, the Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center very much disagrees with that line of thinking. I applaud Ken for having the courage to stand up for what he knows is right even though it is no doubt a difficult decision.

His letter and reasoning can be found here:

The River Otter said...

Anonymous- I did note that about Titus also. I don't know how that company came to be the one to pursue the initial study, and was a little disappointed by their (lack of) credentials in that area, also. It may or may not be feasible, but it was believed to be worth looking into.
Jason- thanks for your take on Ken Leinbach's position. Please do remember that ultimately, he has to answer to his funding sources.

The River Otter said...

In otter words, Jason, Ken's position is not surprising at all.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! Do you have any news about "what's next." I mean, what's the timeline on repairs? Are there any more hoops to jump through? Etc. Do you know?

The River Otter said...

Anonymous #2-
Thank you.
And, yes.
You might try emailing me, via my profile.

willie dynamite said...

It appears that the DNR might have some input on where things go from here. I don't think the county has the right to fill up the impoundment this summer without doing the proper work to address the many issues facing the dam. The county board members don't really have the power to do this, their only choices are to REPAIR or ABANDON. I'm not surprised the Board members did this, they may just be looking for political cover and a scapegoat(that may be giving this group too much credit)-- blame the big, bad DNR for taking away "your lake". Let's hope we get "our river" back.

The River Otter said...

Ms. Dynamite-
I have never used a first-person pronoun (singular OR plural) to describe the impoundment. Please do not insinuate that I have.

Anonymous said...


You may have not, but the group (MRPA) you are a member of has. Specifically Glen Goebel. He has referred to the impoundment as "our lake" in emails we have exchanged. I think he needs to get things in perspective. We all own the river. Those that live on it do not have more rights than those living in other parts of the county.


The River Otter said...

Glen and I are working together on some things, but we are very different individuals, and we do not agree on everything, just like members of any group. This blog is my project, not his.