Sunday, March 1, 2009

Estabrook Dam removal: A call to action

Hijacking this literary flyfishing site is necessary sometimes. This is one of those times.
An urgent call to action to all concerned:

Dear fellow anglers, A vote will be taking place shortly regarding the future of the Estabrook Park Dam on the Milwaukee River by the committee of Parks, Energy and the Environment of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

Please join the Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Great Waters Group, Trout Unlimited-Southeast Wisconsin Chapter, and Milwaukee Steelheaders in calling for the removal of this dam.

The impoundment created by the dam creates an artificial pool of stagnant water, degrades fish habitat, prevents fish migration, warms the water, lowers dissolved oxygen levels, and allows sediment accumulation. The sediments are also full of toxic PCBs.
The removal of the dam would greatly improve water quality and fishing opportunities for us.

Unfortunately, we are opposed by a highly organized group of homeowners along the river upstream of the dam, who are concerned with the loss of the impoundment which they refer to as “The largest inland lake in Milwaukee County.”

Please help us in these efforts to advocate for the removal of the Estabrook Dam.
Email, call, and or write to the members of the County committee of Parks, Energy and the Environment, and tell them you support dam removal. If you are an out of state angler, and fish our river, all the better. The parties involved need to understand that this is not a simple local issue, and that the decision they make will effect anglers, nature lovers, boaters, and others who use the river for recreation.

I drafted a simple letter that follows below. Feel free to copy and paste it to form the body of your email or letter. Also feel free to add your perspectives and wording to your request to the supervisors.
The few minutes it will take to send an email, call, or letter will be of enormous importance in helping to restore this vital natural resource, and improve your angling experience. Thanking you in advance, and yours in service to the river,

Erik F. Helm

Here is the list of County Supervisors on the committee:


Parks, Energy and Environment - Committee Members

Gerry Broderick, Chair
414 278-4237

Joe Sanfelippo, Vice Chair
414 278-4247

Elizabeth Coggs
414 278-4265

Marina Dimitrijevic
414 278-4232

Joseph Rice
414 278-4243

Chris Larson
414 278-4252

Theodore Lipscomb
414 278-4257

All of the supervisors have the same mailing address at:
Milwaukee County Courthouse
901 North 9th Street, RM 201
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: 414-278-4222 Fax: 414-223-1380

Sample email/letter to send:

Dear Milwaukee County Supervisor:
As a sports fisher of the Milwaukee River I call on the Milwaukee County Board, and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Standing Committee on Parks, Energy, and Environment to take the following actions:

1. Vote to NOT fund repairs of the Estabrook Park dam.
2. Do advocate for the removal of the Estabrook Park dam.
3. Do advocate for the restoration and cleanup of the Milwaukee River from the current Estabrook Park dam location to Kletch Park.

I would like to see the restoration of the wild aspect of this natural river area for current and future generations, and to improve water quality, remove contaminated sediments, remove barriers to fish passage, improve fisheries, minimize flooding, and improve public access to this urban natural resource.

I call for this so that all persons enjoying the river or engaging in recreational activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or hiking along the river’s edge will have an improved experience in this urban park environment. I believe that the ecological health restored by a free flowing river is of higher long-term value than maintaining the current impoundment created by the dam. As a fisherman, I contribute license revenue to the state of Wisconsin, and to the revenue of the county, city, and state in the form of fees, and patronizing local businesses.
The Milwaukee River is a wonderful asset to the community, and the removal of the North Avenue Dam helped create a fishery that I and many others enjoy.

I urge you to vote for the removal of the Estabrook Dam, which in my view would greatly contribute to our recreational experience.


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