Agreement seeks use of Indianford Park for dam work

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Monday, September 9, 2013

INDIANFORD—A portion of a Rock County park will be temporary closed for trash pickup.

That's the easy explanation of what will happen in October at Indianford Park.

The more complicated explanation involves sediment build up, water levels and clogged wicket gates.

At a meeting Tuesday, the Rock County Parks Committee will consider an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the Rock Koshkonong Lake District. The agreement, which still has to be approved by the county board, would allow the lake district to use part of the park as a staging area for equipment needed for work near the Indianford Dam.

The work will be done north of the powerhouse, said Brian Christianson, chairman of the lake district, and will include the draw down of water, cleaning of trash gates and the installation of an automatic debris cleaning system.

“We've had a number of complaints about the water not going completely through the wicket gates,” Christianson said.

The wicket gates are mechanical, underwater gates that allow the water to flow under the powerhouse. Trash racks in front of the gate prevent debris from clogging the gates. But even with the removal of trash that accumulates around the gates, the wicket gates still didn't seems to be handling the proper amount of water. 

Lake district officials are concerned gravel from a previous project and objects such as sunken logs have formed a barrier at the bottom of the racks.

This year, the dam is due for its 10-year state Department of Natural Resources inspection, and lake district officials decided that now would be a good time to tackle the wicket gate problem.

The work will begin with the construction of a cofferdam, a kind of temporary scaffolding that will divert water in that area over the spillway.

Then, when the area is dry, crews will clean the debris from the bottom of the gates. 

“We decided we weren't going to do this halfway,” Christianson said of the project.

The final portion of the work would involve the installation of an automated trash rack cleaning system.

The estimated cost of the project, which includes engineering and the inspection of the dam, will be between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on how long the work takes and what kind of problems encountered, Christianson said. 

The agreement with the county would give the lake district a 30-day window to get the work done.  Only a portion of the 2.5-acre park would be closed. Access to the park would be limited to the West Riverside Drive entrance.

Work is expected to start about Oct. 1, and will be completed by Oct. 15,  Christianson said.

The park is used primarily by anglers, who like to fish in the waters below the dam.

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