Northwest Iowa dam replaced with rocks - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Northwest Iowa dam replaced with rocks

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The Klondike Dam, which used to sit near Inwood, IA for over a century, has been replaced by 400 metric tons of rocks. The Klondike Dam, which used to sit near Inwood, IA for over a century, has been replaced by 400 metric tons of rocks.

For some in Northwest Iowa, a dam that stood for more than 100 years used to be a familiar sight.  But now, it's been torn down.

The soothing Big Sioux River is a sight many enjoy in Northwest Iowa, but in one spot the water now flows more like rapids.

Until January, the Klondike Dam, which was over a century old, sat just northwest of Inwood.

"It breeched. It's been broken several times," said Craig Van Otterloo, Executive Director of Lyon County Conservation Board.

Breeches in the dam created lower water levels upstream, bad news for several wells there.

"We have shallow wells that are about 30 feet deep and you only have maybe 20 feet of productive area in your well. So if you loose six feet, you're down to screen tops," said Reed Grafing, Operations Manager for Lyon & Sioux Rural Water.

When the wells were shallow, the local water supply suffered. That's when officials new a change had to be made.

The dam has been replaced by 400 metric tons of rocks.

So why put rocks where a dam used to be?

"Low-head dams are drowning machines so this rock riffle, rock arch riffle, was the way to go," said Van Otterloo.

Now, the attention turns towards landscaping and a plan to build cabins on the river's bank.

The view promises to overlook plenty of water, with plenty of rapids.

The project has been in the works since 2008, but higher water levels and a lack of funding didn't allow the dam to be torn down until recently.

The project cost more than $500,000 with three-fourths of it funded by FEMA.

 

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