Robert Williams, PE
805 Des Moines Drive
Windom MN 56101
November 28, 2007
Mayor Tom Riordan
City Administrator Steve Nasby
444 9th Street
Windom MN 56101
We are writing on behalf of the concerned residents of Windom to request the city take action to save the Windom Dam, a very important city asset, from further risk due to erosive effects. As you know, the DNR has failed to approve a permit for the city to restore the “status quo” of this situation.
In a letter dated October 18, 2007 (attached), we brought to the DNR’s attention several serious and material factual errors in their permit denial letter, and several engineering misjudgments and oversights. These errors also include what appear to be errors in application of state law and/or rule. The DNR November 20, 2007 response basically ignored the concerns we raised, and instead again reiterated the “drowning machine” argument that in Windom has no basis in fact and is easily addressed with a riprap retrofit. The DNR also again reasserts the false claim that “In essence, the dam has already been removed..”.
Our October 18, 2007 letter to the DNR, and the September 18, 2007 City Council presentation we made highlight a number of potentially serious risks to public (federal, state and city) and private property that are being ignored in this situation.
The replacement value of our public and private property located in Windom is easily worth millions of dollars and the potential liability to the City, taxpayers and affected residents in a worst-case scenario associated with an ill-conceived dam removal would be especially serious. Taking actions now to prevent negative unintended consequences later is essential and prudent. Trying to address erosion concerns during a major flood event, as the DNR would apparently intend for others to attempt is far more dangerous and problematic than a conservative and prudent approach. It would also be far more hazardous than the demonstrated risks due to the so called “drowning machine” effect.
Therefore we are asking that the Council ask city legal counsel to evaluate the potential liabilities and risks to public and private property associated with the DNR’s actions and determine whether legal action should be pursued to protect the city’s interests.
We envision this step may result in actions to compel by court order the restoration of the riverbank to the “status quo” condition with a design provided by the city engineer. It may also involve an Environmental Impact Statement process if the DNR persists in forcing negative environmental changes upon Windom.
Save the Island Park Dam
Robert Williams, Representative
Enc: October 18, 2007 Correspondence to DNR
November 20, 2007 Correspondence from DNR