- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - A consultant is recommending that Fort Dodge remove two dams on the Des Moines River.

The riverfront plan by Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, which was introduced to the public Wednesday at an open house, calls for removal of a hydroelectric dam that no longer produces power and a nearby, smaller dam, according to the Fort Dodge Messenger (http://bit.ly/1ZAYwcJ ).

Nate Hoogeveen, the river programs coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the goal is to enhance recreation and improve water quality.

“Primarily, we’re asking, what can people do for recreation here on the water?” Hoogeveen said. “And second, we’re asking, how can we make water quality better over time?”

The plan also touched on a number of other proposals related to the Des Moines River for its length through Webster County, but in Fort Dodge much of the interest has been about the dams.

Last month, the City Council agreed to pay a company nearly $70,000 to demolish the power plant next to the hydroelectric dam. The company also will remove gates that once controlled the flow of water through the dam.

The hydro dam was built in 1916 and generated electricity for downtown streetlights until 1971.

Snyder & Associates recommended removing the hydro dam and what’s called the “little dam” in order to restore a more natural flow to the river and remove hazards for kayakers.

Chad Schaeffer, Fort Dodge’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth, said he hopes to get the riverfront plan approved by city, county and state officials this fall. If it’s approved, Schaeffer said it will be implemented as money is available.

Other proposals in the plan include replacing invasive plants with native species along the length of the river and improving river access points.

“It’s going to take years to do all this,” Councilman Kim Alstott said.

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Information from: The Messenger, http://www.messengernews.net

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