As of October 2023 - Lower Kinni Restoration and Powell Dam removal are on "pause" while the City, the US Army Corp of Engineers (COE), the community and stakeholder work through the COE feasibility study process. We anticipate a viable project recommendation that will lead to Federal Matching Funding of $10,000,000 toward Kinni Ecological Restoration.
The City of River Falls obtained an extension on the current hydro operations license for Junction Fall until August 2023, to allow for the community master planning process that resulted in a resolution (see side bar) and the adoption in January 2019 of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor Master Plan (KRCP).
June 28-29, 2020 a 6.75 inch rain fall caused flooding within the Kinnickinnic Watershed. This flood damage roads, storm water run-off areas and clogged the Junction and Powell Dam intakes. Powell Dam also had visible damage to the concrete on the right side. To determine the extent of the damage and ensure dam safety, the City, stakeholders, WDNR and FERC agreed to a draw down. The Powell Dam impoundment was drawn down between October 2 and 15, 2020. The Dam inspection was completed October 19, 2020 by Ayes Associates, Inc. Final report and supporting information were sent to FERC on 12/22/2020. Review the report
Before, during and after draw down, KinniCC partnered with volunteers to complete monitoring by drone flown in a repeatable pattern over the lakebed and channel above Powell Dam and the river below Powell Dam to the confluence with the Rocky Branch. The videos and photos from these periodic flights are posted on the KinniCC website:River Monitoring.
KinniCC engaged Sean Morrison, geomorphologist, from Inter-Fluve to provide a technical analysis of the channel formation, sediment movement as support to decommissioning and restoration planning.
Review the final report and supporting appendix to learn more about the impact on the Kinni.
Inter-Fluve Technical Memorandum (December 2020)
You can also review on the KinniCC reports and resources page.
Powell Falls Dam Decommissioning was completed in March 2022. KinniCC assisted the City in securing a $1,000,000 WDNR Dam Removal Grant in June 2022. We continue to raise funds toward long term ecological restoration with an anticipated total cost of $15M to $17M depending on the level of stormwater mitigation and recreational enhancements we can bring into the initial restoration efforts.
Lower Kinni Ecological Restoration Objectives
Hydro Dam removal involves a lot of planning and approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The US COE feasibility study will bring up to $10M in matching funds to City of RF. KinniCC is committed to partially fund the COE feasibility study as the next step in this effort.
Powell Dam Removal and Kinni restoration is subject to an Environmental Assessment WDNR/ US COE approval.
We all love to be on, in or near the Kinni. There are so many ways to enjoy the beauty and recreation on this Outstanding Cold-Water resource. Paddling a canoe or kayak solo or with a group of friends, fly fishing, bird and wildlife watching, hiking, biking, doing outdoor yoga or meditation, hanging out on one of the local restaurant patios and so much more. Enjoy an overview of River Falls.
The upper Kinni is very accessible with multiple public landings on the upper river, north of River Falls on DNR and Kinnickinnic River Land Trust managed conservation sites. The character of the river here is a meandering narrow track through active agricultural and residential properties. The Kinni runs through the heart of River Falls and is part of our mainstreet, with 4 bridge crossings within 7 miles. Below Powell Falls Dam the Kinni flows into a driftless area canyon that feels very wild and remote. There is only one public access point about 4 miles below River Falls, until river users get to the confluence with the St. Croix River at the Kinnickinnic State Park landing on County F. The lower river has limited access and can be unsafe for inexperienced paddlers or anglers.
With so much to do and enjoy, the community is naturally concerned that the condition of the river be managed to keep it cold and clean. We also want residents and visitors to be safe and have fun, spend time and a few dollars and get to know what River Falls has to offer.
Kinni Corridor Collaborative is taking the lead role in facilitating conversations with the multiple private, commercial and public stakeholders. Here are some of the questions we'll be exploring and working to resolve through a community action plan.
We'll be building on the information in the Kinnickinnic River Corridor Master Plan to continue the dialog, develop river user educational materials and offer regular opportunities to do hands on river clean up and enhancement projects. River Development and management are an on-going process.
Kinni Corridor Collaborative is one of the partners supporting this project to project a special place on the Kinni just below Powell Falls dam. Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) purchased a key 40-acre, old growth forested parcel of land in the lower river canyon downstream of Powell Falls. The parcel contains 1,500 feet of river frontage and includes the mouth of Rocky Branch. The purchase includes a road easement to connect the River Falls School Forest, which has been landlocked for years. Trails content both Community Forest and School Forest to Glen Park and River Hills Park through the Kinni Trail System. .
This is an extraordinary opportunity for KRLT, the Community of River Falls, and the River Falls School District. “ Successfully acquining this 40-acre community forest will enhance public access to the Kinnickinnic River, increase angler opportunities, protect Rocky Branch confluence, provide space for environmental education, and expand recreation. Over 100 acres in total are protected and connected through this project.
The Community Forest Project is part of the Kinni Corridor Plan guiding principles and aligns with the Kinni Corridor Collaborative vision for our impact in the community.
Thank you to everyone who gave to fund this purchase of a conservation property to extend access to the River Falls School Forest and recreation on the Kinni. The purchase closed in January 2021 and now the real work begins with trails, invasives mitigation or removal and recreation features.