Monterey Dam; Questions Needing Answers: repair verses removal

Between our two dams is a two-mile stretch of deep quiet-water ideal for all non-motorized water sports activities, an amazing recreational asset, with lagoon and pedestrian-access slope-walled erosion-protection banks. We just need a few entry ramps and piers.

1. If our dam was a $200,000 home that needed a $7000 roof repair, would you instead use that $7000 to demolition it just because you might get a $4000 landscaping grant?

2. Who owns, maintains, and repairs the Aqua Jay’s dam? Is it true that if one dam goes, they both go? Who is currently pocketing the money from the hydro-turbine green energy production that is being sold to Alliant?

3. What emerging hydro-turbine technology would allow our Monterey Dam to efficiently produce green energy? Would that not provide us with a break on our utility bill?

Since the Monterey Dam is in the affordable-housing Fourth Ward Neighborhood, could not CDA (Community Development Authority Block Grant) be used to add hydro-turbines as a quality of life issue to lower energy costs for low-income residents?

4. If the dam is removed, who owns the 100’s of feet of newly exposed river bed earth? The home owner? The city? The county? The state? Who cleans up the silt contaminates? Who re-stabilizes the relocated river edge? At whose expense? Will the DNR require a public access bike trail in the back yards of the riverfront home owners? Who would pay to install, repair, maintain, snow removal, and insurance premium liability for such a trail?

5. Who controls the dam’s water bypass drain gate? Why has a temporary drain not yet been done to see the real results of removing the dam?

6. If removing the dam would drop the water level by only 5 to 8 inches, that would mean that the water level beyond the dam that now drops 6 feet would instead be 5 1/2 feet DEEPER. Does that not flood all properties down stream of the Monterey dam?? (Math equation; addition and subtraction, requiring an understanding of gravity)

7. By what authority have city employees been sabotaging the dam’s surrounding area? By what authority did they neglect the maintenance and repairs? By whose authority was the spillway below the dam drained?. By whose authority where all those beautiful mature trees clear cut off the divider burm between the river and lower spillway? Was that done to cause the burm to erode away? By whose authority was that ugly metal wall installed that cuts off the lower spillway? At what cost? Who gave the work order for those trees to be taken? Where was DNR prior approval? Why did the city clear cut those wonderful mature Weeping Willow trees from the banks by the Rock Cave?

8. Who chose and approved the individuals on the city Dam Committee and by what process? Where is the representative from the village of Afton, and from the Rock Township Board, and from the county?

Who chose the consulting firm and why was that not up to the committee? By what process was that firm chosen? Why were two firms not hired; one for repair and one against? How unfair was it to bring in the repair firm as a one-time only speaker in front of the demolition ” hired firm”. He was made to answer the question, “Is this dam a candidate for removal?” Answer; Yes. ANY dam. ANY dam is a candidate for removal. So he was set up.

9. Why is there NO dam committee chair? Why are two city employees controlling the agenda, the minutes, the presentations, the consultant, most of the questions? Where is the temp-agency clerical assistant for this committee in order to avoid conflict of interest? Why are government employees on this committee and why can they vote?

10. Why does the dam committee not have a budget for
an appraiser of the dam”s value? and dam replacement cost?
a hydro-engineer?
three repair bids?
three removal bids?
three restoration of lowered banks bids?

11. Why are the dam committee members not listed on the web site, along with their contact information? If committee members are appointed representatives for “we the people” with regard to this very important asset – why were they not introduced at a city council meeting, sworn in, recognized? Where is their group photo – anywhere?

12. Where is the DNR person to explain all the notification requirements and all of the required renovation requirements of the removal of any dam?

13. How much of the $400,000 landscape grant would just reimburse the city general fund for costs already incurred? What amount would remain? Who would decide which handful of projects from the extensive wish list would be done with the remaining landscape grant money?

14. Why would anyone want to remove the concrete liner in the lagoon? Why would we want street runoff to be absorbing into our water table rather than continuing to be diluted by the flowing river? What “natural vegetation” grows in gas, oil, and salt run-off? Doesn’t vegetation that discourages geese also discourage humans?

15. How many times did the “take-out the dam” Inter-Fluve consultant say “we won’t know until after the removal”. And “one foot of water is enough to paddle a canoe”.

16. At what cost was the recent repair to the pedestrian access sloping retention wall that protects the bank from erosion? At what cost to remove it if the dam removal shrunk the river to 1/4 it’s current width? At what cost to protect the new river bank?

17. At the last committee meeting, why were the extra tables not removed and extra chairs brought in to accommodate the dozens of concerned citizens who showed up?

18. Where are our ward supervisors? Our block captains? The seating and attendance at council meeting of our 17+ citizen committee and board chairs?

19. What legal recourse do the citizens have to enforce the required repairs of our +$20 million dollar dam?

These questions need to be answered. We need the other HALF of the story. Hire Ayers as the second equal consultant for the competitive full version of the repair scenario option.