Ramsey Dam Causing Problems Upstream

Created: 08/05/2014 10:49 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Problems at the Ramsey Dam in Austin appear to be causing more problems upstream than downstream.

As ABC 6 has reported, a gate installed as part of the original mill broke underneath what is now the Old Mill Restaurant, causing water to go around the dam and come through an alternate passage.

The free flow of water has dropped water levels upstream, leaving banks exposed.

But officials said, so far, it's not hurting wildlife, just those who use and live near the waterway.

"You can't get through all the areas by boat right now, which was something you were able to do earlier this summer,” said Justin Hanson, project coordinator for the Cedar River Watershed District. “So to that extent, the recreation side and the aesthetic value for those homeowners, it makes a difference."

The dam is owned by Hormel Foods, but officials said because the issue is not actually with the dam itself, it will be up to the owner of the Old Mill to come up with a solution.

Officials say they don’t believe the owner has an obligation to do anything, but he tells ABC 6 he already has plans to divert the water and fix the gate.

DNR officers were expected to visit the site on Wednesday to assess the situation further.

Photo: ABC 6 News