A Minnesota-based firm will be tapped to develop a request for proposals (RFP), outlining project parameters to be used by engineering firms looking to construct a sluiceway and Tainter gate system on the east side of the Indianford Dam powerhouse. The proposed modification will be made in between the powerhouse and the dam’s spillway. The powerhouse is situated on the west bank of the Rock River in Indianford.

The Rock-Koshkonong Lake District (RKLD) Board of Commissioners approved during its monthly meeting held Sept. 19 hiring Emmons & Oliver, Inc., to draft the request, which will ask interested engineering firms to propose project construction plans, outline associated costs, and write grant applications to help procure project funding. The meeting was held at the Albion Town Hall.

The board also approved the August treasurer’s report, which included a provision of $3,000 to fund the creation of the RFP.

Cottage Grove-based Montgomery Associates Research Solutions, LLC, (MARS) was initially tapped in April to investigate options to move water more quickly through the Indianford Dam, specifically looking at ways to reduce the number of slow-no wake days during the warm-weather boating season.

In June, the company’s principal, Rob Montgomery, proposed five alternatives to increase water volume moving through the dam, including the creation of a 19-foot sluiceway between the powerhouse and the dam’s overflow crest. The option would require the removal of an existing concrete abutment on the east side of the powerhouse. The alternative, labeled Option 2, was further modified in August, after the board received a presentation from hydro-technician and Wild Rose Machine Shop LLC owner Chris Cutts, who recommended adding a Tainter gate to the proposed sluiceway.

According to Cutts, a Tainter gate, which he defined as a radial arm floodgate, could displace water quickly and would help divert water away from wicket gates, which are submerged beneath the powerhouse, and their associated trash racks, facilitating less trash rack cleaning. A Tainter gate could also help capture water when levels were low, he said.

Emmons & Oliver and MARS merged, according to the company’s website, in April. Montgomery serves with Emmons & Oliver in the role of principal water resources engineer.

During the Sept. 19 meeting, Commissioner Mike Shumaker gave an update on dam repair and activities, noting that after a dive team hired by RKLD in August reconnected a plug used to empty water from a wicket gate turbine, RKLD Chairman Al Sweeney, Cutts, and then-acting dam principal operator Kim Bothom were able to return the wicket gates, and their associated dewatering slide gates and trash rack panels, to full working order.

He cited approval of the RFP as a next step to equip the dam with an increased water regulating capacity.

According to Shumaker, an upcoming deadline to apply for grant assistance from the DNR to offset the cost of modifications is Feb. 28.

He said RKLD could entertain starting modification work before that date, or wait until after an application was made and funds received.

“We owe it to the taxpayers to get that,” said Commissioner Mark Meyer in reference to a potential to procure grant money.

Sweeney noted that planning and design work could be done soon, allowing the board a better understanding of what the project might cost.

Shumaker said he believed other grants would also be available. He cited the Sierra Club as another resource.

After talking with DNR officials, Shumaker said he though a grant amount between $250,000 and $300,000 could be obtained. He said the dollars were set aside by the DNR for dam repair.

Sweeney said he thought additional information was needed about whether approval of a grant, or any awarded monies, would be affected by an early start of construction.

While the electors would need to approve the expenditure, he said, a special meeting could be called for that purpose.

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