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River improvement plans shared

Improvements to the existing operational gate at the Reasoner Dam and the installation of a second gate, may be necessary to relieve the logjam of sediment filling the channel of the Des Moines River in Humboldt. Humboldt Independent file photo.

The Humboldt County RIVER Development Corp., is in the process of formulating a plan for a clean up and a proposed redevelopment of the Des Moines River in Humboldt.
“We need the county and the city’s blessing to get this project done,” RIVER Development spokesperson Mike Worthington said.
Worthington took the first steps toward reaching out Monday at the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor’s weekly meeting at the courthouse in Dakota City.
Worthington presented some tentative findings from Shane Sigle, a professional engineer with the Recreation Engineering and Planning firm out of Boulder, CO. The company was first contacted early last summer.
The company specializes in creating whitewater recreation areas and improved fishing waters out of existing freshwater rivers and lakes.
Worthington said the project before the RIVER group and the community at large is twofold. One is to fix and modify the gate structure at the Joe Reasoner Dam, to reduce the amount of silt backing up into the Lake Nokomis region and other areas of the river upstream.
The second portion is to develop a whitewater rapids and recovery pool areas in the area downstream of the dam, known as the mill race. The development would be in the area where the old power plant was located, under 3rd Avenue North and in the area behind the Bank Iowa motor bank.
The issue of making repairs to the dam and reducing the amount of sediment being deposited in the West Fork of the river, is an issue the community and the county must be involved in.
Worthington said pulling the silt out is still the biggest concern. He said fixing one gate now on the dam and adding a second gate to the west could be a viable option.
Worthington said the total cost of the two projects could be between $2.5-$3 million. He said while some grant funding may be available, start up costs are needed for an engineering design study, which is expected to cost $50,000.