May 17, 2010


Milwaukee Riverkeeper was recently featured in a FOX 6 news story about the battle for removing the Estabrook Dam. Milwaukee Riverkeeper is in favor of removing the dam, as explained in its position paper found here by clicking here.

You can view and/or read the story below.

WITI-TV, MILWAUKEE – Some people living on the Milwaukee River has never questions if the Estabrook Dam would be repaired, others insist the dam should be removed. The dam disagreement persists, but there are some changes moving downstream.

Milwaukee Riverfront resident JP Kastner says, “The people who want to get rid of the dam are people, almost always, I agree with…but I don’t agree with this.” Kastner is talking about the removal of the Estabrook Dam located near his property.

He explains during the 1930’s the dam was installed to replace a natural rock formation that helped restrict water flow, but was without human controls. “You could open this up. Keep the water down in the winter, when all the snow and all that melts into the river, and then certain areas that would flood at that time of the year were no longer being flooded.”

Kastner moved to his property along the Milwaukee River in 2006, when the Estabrook Dam was fully functional. Within just a couple of years problems with the 70-year-old structure forced it out of use.

Milwaukee County has budgeted more than $2M to repair the dam and clean up the area, but not everyone agrees this is the right course.

Executive Director of the Milwaukee Riverkeepers Karen Schapiro says the dam should be removed, because of environmental and economic concerns. “The reports show that it will really cost the county between 12-14 million dollars to repair the dam properly.”

Milwaukee County Supervisor Theo Lipscomb explains estimated repair costs are closer to $1M, adding that the artificial dam puts the river closer to nature. “When it’s functioning it maintains the water level at its historic level. So it’s not creating an artificial condition.”

There is a meeting scheduled for mid-June, and the dam issue will be addressed then.