- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - A group of Janesville residents is closer to reaching a final decision about whether to remove or repair the Monterey Dam.

At its meeting Jan. 10, the majority of the Monterey Dam Citizen Advisory Committee’s 11 members were in favor of removing the damaged dam rather than repairing it, the Janesville Gazette (https://bit.ly/2jEgiko) reported. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has ordered the city to take one action or the other.

Members considered possible improvements with dam removal, including channeling the river closer to Monterey Rock, erecting signs to identify historic landmarks and building observation decks.

Beth Wentzel, a civil engineer for Inter-Fluve, a consultant hired by the city, said removing the dam would create a more natural habitat for fish and mussels. She said it could also boost fishing and recreation.

Shawn McCarten, owner of It’s a Keeper Bait & Tackle near the dam, said removing the dam would provide more space. He said only about a dozen anglers can currently fish near the dam at once.

“In reality we’d all win,” McCarten said. “Not just us, but the city of Janesville.”

Wentzel also dismissed some common misconceptions about dam removal, including that it creates mud flats, decreases nearby property value and shrinks the river upstream.

City engineer Mike Payne said the estimated cost to repair the dam would be about $700,000, and the cost to remove and moderately restore it would be over $1 million.

The removal or repair of the dam would begin in 2018.

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Information from: The Janesville Gazette, https://www.gazetteextra.com

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