SAVE the MKE River, Tear down the DAM
Milwaukee Riverkeeper has been fighting to remove the Estabrook Dam in Glendale for years. Two weeks ago, we scored a big win when the Milwaukee County Circuit Court ruled in our favor and declared the dam a public nuisance that must be abated.
We plan to proceed full-speed ahead, put the pressure on, and once-and-for all tear down the Estabrook Dam and restore a natural, free-flowing Milwaukee River!
How YOU Can Help - Take Action
Please contact your County Supervisor TODAY and urge him or her to do away with the Estabrook Dam – the only fiscally and environmentally responsible thing to do.
Just copy and paste the message below into an e-mail and send it to your supervisor (please cc: firstname.lastname@example.org & Chris.Abele@milwcnty.com, when you do). If you would like to add your own reasons why the dam should come down, feel free! Or, refer to the additional talking points below.
"Dear County Supervisor ___.
I reside at ___ in your district. I am writing to urge that you take action to ensure the removal of the Estabrook Dam on the Milwaukee River in Glendale.
As you probably know, on Thursday, May 24th, in a lawsuit filed by Milwaukee Riverkeeper, the Milwaukee County Circuit Court declared the dam a "public nuisance" that must be “abated” – i.e, either removed or repaired. Now, the County is under Court order to submit an “abatement” proposal to the Court by June 29, 2012. I am calling upon you as a Milwaukee County Supervisor to choose to tear down the dam. It’s the only responsible decision for both the environment and the taxpayer. Here's why:
The costs of repairing, replacing, and maintaining the dam in the future will greatly exceed the costs of removing the dam NOW.
While the County has received a grant from the Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $400,000 for repair, and approved $2.1 million in bonding, this doesn’t come close to the costs needed for repair, replacement and future operations. The County’s own numbers show that repair of the dam, including removal of contaminated sediment, could run as high as $4.5 to $6 MILLION, or more.
Removal of the dam will save the County – and the taxpayers – MILLIONS of dollars, and alleviate the County’s liability for future dam operations. With Milwaukee County facing huge budget deficits, continued cuts in the already beleaguered Park Budget, and over $100 million in deferred maintenance to County buildings and facilities, repair of the dam would be wholly contrary to the best interests of the public.
The dam has been drawn down for several years now and it has not presented any problems. The Estabrook Dam was never intended for flood control and submerges in a 100-year storm. The risk of flooding for upstream property owners is mitigated without the dam. Moreover, the river is already returning to a natural, free flowing state. A free flowing river improves water quality, fish passage and recreational opportunities for paddlers, fisherman and others. It’s time for the County to get serious and cut bait on the Estabrook Dam.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper's efforts to remove the Estabrook Dam are also supported by:
-Sierra Club Great Waters Group
-Trout Unlimited-Southeast WI Chapter
-Milwaukee Lake and Stream Fly Fishers
-Milwaukee County Conservation Coalition
-Greater Milwaukee Green Party
-Glendale Natural Areas Group
-Riverwest Neighborhood Association
Noteworthy is that even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board has agreed that the dam should be torn down (most recently on May 27, 2012). Please do the right thing by seeing that your Corporation Counsel lawyers submit to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court an abatement plan for REMOVAL of the dam by June 29th, 2012.
Thank you for your time,
List of Milwaukee County Supervisors:
- Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. - 1st District - (414) 278-4257 - email@example.com
- Nikiya Harris - 2nd District - (414) 278-4278 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gerry Broderick- 3rd District - (414) 278-4237 -email@example.com
- Marina Dimitrijevic - 4th District - (414) 278-4232 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Russell Stamper II - 5th District - (414) 278-4261 - email@example.com
- Jim "Luigi" Schmitt - 6th District - (414) 278-4273 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael Mayo, Sr. - 7th District - (414) 278-4241 - email@example.com
- Patricia Jursik - 8th District - (414) 278-4231 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve F. Taylor - 9th District - (414) 278-4267 - email@example.com
- David Bowen - 10th District - (414) 278-4265 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark A. Borkowski - 11th District - (414) 278-4253 - email@example.com
- Peggy Romo West - 12th District - (414) 278-4269 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Willie Johnson, Jr. - 13th District - (414) 278-4233 - email@example.com
- Jason Haas - 14th District - (414) 278-4252 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Cullen - 15th District - (414) 278-4263 - email@example.com
- John F. Weishan, Jr. - 16th District - (414) 278-4255 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joe Sanfelippo - 17th District - (414) 278-4247 - email@example.com
- Deanna Alexander - 18th District - (414) 278-4259 - firstname.lastname@example.org
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS
• The costs of repairing, replacing, and maintaining the dam in the long run will greatly exceed the costs of removing the dam NOW.
• There are currently great Federal funding resources available as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for dam removal and restoration of dewatered areas. It is likely that funding for dam repairs and continued operation would come entirely from County taxpayers.
• Remediation of contaminated sediment upstream of the Dam must be the first priority to protect the environment and public health. The County Board has allotted no funding toward removal of these sediments, and this funding can not be bonded. Even if the Board decided to spend allotted bonded funds for dam repair, the dam can not be operated until sediments are cleaned up first.
• We urge the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to vote against funding repairs of the Estabrook Dam and instead to seek funds for removal of the Estabrook Dam, removal of contaminated sediments, and the restoration of the Milwaukee River in the area of the dam and existing impoundment.
• We encourage the County Board to initiate a more thorough and transparent public process regarding the decision to remove or repair the Estabrook Dam. There has been no public referendum on this dam. County Board and Committee decisions around this dam have focused on individual Supervisor’s political interests and not what’s best for Milwaukee County taxpayers or their natural resources.
• Removing the dam would yield the greatest positive impacts on river ecology, flood management, water quality, sediment management, fish and aquatic life, terrestrial wildlife, and recreation. Dam removal will help restore the natural and wild aspect of the Milwaukee River for current and future generations. The ecological health created by a free flowing river offers greater long term value than maintaining the present lake behind the dam.
*For even more information on why the dam should come down check out our position paper by clicking here.