Save the Windom Dam

This website is created by stakeholders committed to public safety, the protection of public and private property, and the restoration of the pond and wetland environment severely damaged last year.

Links to Correspondence Regarding Dam Issue

  1/9/10 -   Attempt to get the legislators, mayor and county emergency preparedness staff to address issues of: (1) DNR demonstrably ignoring legislative intent, (2) using public funds in a coercive manner to achieve their pre-determined outcome; (3) abusing their authority by attacking private citizen through his employer with false allegations.  DNR documentation also demonstrates the DNR is willing to ignore internal DNR staff concerns about greater risks of damage to public and private property in order to “let a river be a river”.  There has been no effort made to inform the most affected stakeholders of the increased risks created by a faster flowing erosive river environment instead of the more stable reservoir environment.

12/7/09 – Letter to Senator Vickerman and Representative Hamilton in an attempt to get legislators to address issues of: (1) DNR staff demonstrably ignoring legislative intent; (2) demonstrably using public funds in a coercive manner to achieve their pre-determined outcome; (3) demonstrably attacking a private citizen by attacking him through his employer with false allegations.  DNR documentation also demonstrates they are willing to ignore internal staff concerns about increased risks of damage to public and private property in order to “let a river be a river”.  (No response.) 

4/18/08 - Deliberate stated attempt by local DNR staff and managers to malign reputations of myself and other engineer based on combination of: (1) their false conclusions and (2) the DNR staff willingness to assert their power over stakeholders who may have a view contrary to their own predetermined goals. 

6/22/07 - Internal DNR discussion about evading legislative intent in order to ochieve removal of Windom dam. 

5/21/07 - Early DNR concern about potential for erosive damage during rain event.  When a licensed Engineer expresses similar concerns about significant flood events, he gets accused of using "scare tactics" the same person. 


 1/1/09 - Letter to the Editor again taking issue with the DNR stance of trying to destroy the dam by preventing it's basic stabilization and repair; and deliberately watching the current situation develop over time.  We also take issue with the DNR knowingly and deliberately creating increased risks for homeowners, utility owners and others, despite concerns of others including the DNR dam safety engineer.   

1/2/09 - DNR Letter to the Editor asserting the right to make major negative changes to the Des Moines River environment in Windom and essentially ignore the increased erosive risk until a need is proven - by which time potential catastrophic damage may be done.  This is contrary to professional engineering recommendations.  The DNR also asserts they and the City do not need to be responsible for the costs and risks they are imposing on others - it will be up to homeowners and utility owners and MnDOT to apply to the DNR for permission to protect their riverbanks at their own cost - if the DNR would allow it. 

12/4/08 - Letter to the Editor making note of the serious flaws in the DNR approach and the risks to utilities and the benefits of the reservoir, and the dangers of the DNR approach which has the clear potential to cause serious damage during a flood.  Also noted is the damage to the wetlands reservoir environment which the DNR is ignoring.

11/18/08 - Letter from DNR Hydrologist to City giving legal advice that City should not be liable for any damage caused by rermoval of dam.  He also asserts there is no urgency to remedy this situation (since they are hoping the dam will fail).  He also states the DNR will not allow any riverbank protection until there is evidence of a problem as defined by the DNR (in the middle of a flood??).  He also asserts property owners are rersponsible for the costs to protect their property if the dam is removed, not the government body forcing the change in the long existing environment which is quite an extraordinary assertion.  Even though there is a state law (see 6115.0215 rule attachment to 10/16/2008 correspondence below) that prohibits "restoration work" (dam removal) if the proposed work "will adversely impact public infrastructure, particularily roads and drainage systems"  the DNR is ignoring this law and the City is not yet holding them accountable.  Instead the DNR alleges the Highway 62 bridge, the sanitary sewer, water line, other utility lines are all improperly placed even though they are properly placed with minimal impact to the resource (river) in the context of the dam-in environment - precisely the criteria cited in this DNR letter.  The DNR also takes issue with the siting of the hi-rise building.  If there is a severe flood forecast this winter for example, there will be nothing done to protect the apartments until such time as the DNR decides there is a problem and by then it will be to late.  If there is a severe flood this winter there is also every reason to predict essential utility lines serving the west river area could be destroyed by scour because the dam is not functioning as it was intended to function.

11/18/08 - Our response to the SEH Consultant Feasibility Report (available on City of Windom website) noting a long range solution and how this entire situation was monitored by the DNR for years and was completely avoidable.  We also note the ecological damage done to date and the risks that have been understated and the consequences if this situation continues to be poorly managed.

10/24/08 - Letter Resigning City Dam Committee Position due to openly pre-determined outcome. 

10/16/08 -  Letter from DNR Commissioner ignoring the issues raised in 8/28/2008 correspondence.

8/28/08 -  Letter to DNR again complaining about conduct of DNR staff with documentation.

5/1/08 -  Letter to City expressing strong concerns about the poor process being followed in not reviewing key risks regarding potential dam removal.

3/24/08 - Dam Group response to DNR refuting the flawed application of cost-benefit safety analysis and again stressing the damage done to the migratory bird habitat by the DNR's refusal to allow the reservoir to be restored.

2/7/08 - DNR letter again noting the hydraulic roller effect and possible dam restoration with a riprap retrofit.

1/28-08 - E-mail noting 2 drownings in river before a significant dam was built, which might have been prevented had the current dam been in place.

1/7/08 - Dam Group Letter to DNR again assering public safety and property damage concerns and asking for reconsideration of their position

1/7/08 - MnDOT letter to City expressing concern about potential impacts to bridges and asking for more information. (jpg)

11/28/07 - Dam Group letter to City asking that legal rights be reviewed and considered to protect city property.  (There was no response from City).

11/20/07 - DNR letter asserting "In essence the dam has already been removed..."

10/18/07 - Dam Group response to DNR, noting serious flaws in their reasoning and misstatements of fact.

10/9/07 - DNR letter denying the City permission to restore the riverbank.

9/18/07 - Dam Group City Council Presentation regarding importance of dam.

8/28/08 - Letter from major consulting firm stressing importance of careful engineering evaluations regarding dam removals (none of which has been done by the City or the DNR) (pdf)

7/16/07 - DNR budget request for funds to remove dam, nothing for maintenance, repairs or improvements. (pdf)

7/6/07 -  DNR e-mail assuring that "All decisions are ultimately in the hands of the City Council".