City of Elkader Evaluating Options to Repair Dam

The Elkader dam has taken on a different look lately after one of the gates failed.

City Administrator Jennifer Cowsert says on the east side of the dam, there are gates that were used years ago to control the water flow when the dam was being used to generate power. Two of those gates were replaced with concrete slabs decades ago. The middle gate still had a steel gate, but it finally succumbed to the flooding in March.

Without this gate, more water flows through the gate then goes over the dam itself, so the appearance of the dam is completely different. Cowsert says everyone loves the water flowing over the dam and it’s an iconic piece in the town.

The City of Elkader will now have to evaluate their options to make repairs, present those to the Council and determine where the funding will come from. They’ve been talking to contractors and the City’s engineer and also talking to a couple of state agencies about potential grants. It will be discussed at the Elkader City Council meeting on Monday.

Cowsert says Elkader residents should be aware that repairs will not be quick – the City may have to wait until the water is very low, which usually doesn’t happen until winter.


photo courtesy of Bob Hendrickson