Humboldt County Board of Supervisors authorize Conservation Board to look into engineering firms for dam

By: Matt Scher, [email protected]

Dakota City, IA – The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors held another discussion around the Reasoner Dam this morning at the board’s weekly session.

Todd Lee, the Director of Humboldt County Conservation addressed the board with options on where the discussion currently is at with all but one member of the conservation board in attendance. Lee stated it has been four years since the Conservation Board has looked into what to do with the Reasoner Dam, which the County Board of Supervisors own and have tasked the Conservation Board with the management of the dam.

Lee says that the Board of Conservation for the County has consulted with multiple different experts and engineers in the field and the conservation board’s belief is firm that the best course of option remains option two of the Stantec Engineering plan. The option involves reducing the crest elevation of the eastern portion of the dam, constructing a rock riffle structure down stream, which would allow for fishing and mussel passage and paddling access to the area.

Lee goes on to state that option two would maintain the recreational value that is historically associated with the area while also being a fiscally responsible choice. The option, Lee says, features advantages with minimal maintenance costs and would eliminate the drowning hazard associated with low-head dams, which was narrowly avoided with the water rescue on Memorial Day of this year.

The second option is dependent upon grant funding, as the County would not be able to fund the entirety of the project. Lee says without grant funding acquired, that the board would move toward a recommendation of removing the dam in its entirety.

The discussion led to the motion by Supervisor Rick Pedersen passing by a vote of 3-2 for the of Humboldt County’s Conservation Board looking into engineering companies who will be able to look at what can be done regarding the two options the Conservation Board had brought forth to the Supervisors and for their recommendation on which option, either the lowering of the crest height, or the removal in its entirety.

Pedersen was joined by Erik Underberg and Chairperson Sandy Loney, who held the tiebreaking vote, with dissenting votes by Bruce Reimers and Dave Lee.