The Aug. 13 letter “Removing dam will have negative effect” omitted issues concerning the Mon-Maq dam in Jones County.
l Safety liability: Low head dams are called “drowning machines” for good reason — they have claimed 160 lives in Iowa since 1900. Successful low head dam remediation projects have been completed on the Des Moines River at Boone and on the Wapsipinicon River at Quasqueton, eliminating their “drowning machines.” The elimination and/or modification of the Mon-Maq low head dam would remove the potential costly litigation and liability associated with it.
l Financial liability: A low head dam has continuous and long term maintenance costs. The Mon-Maq dam has structural issues which require fixing and continued maintenance. Funding has been secured to eliminate/remediate the low head dam and its maintenance/refurbishment costs. Dam modification would free Jones County residents from the burden of future maintenance costs.
l Restoration of river ecology. The elimination or modification of low head dams results in the re-establishment of a natural river environment in terms of both fauna and flora. Successful low head dam remediation projects at Charles City, Manchester and Elkader have resulted in improving fishing and recreation opportunities. Modification of the low head dam would provide recreational benefits. Dam mitigation also can be accomplished without loss of dam pool and not have the negative wetland impact claimed.
I encourage the residents of Jones County to look at the facts of low head dam remediation and enjoy the benefits other Iowa communities have realized.