Park Dam Study Nearly Complete

Rock Rapids, Iowa — About a year ago we told you that Rock Rapids is not getting rid of two historic dams in the city’s Island Park.

Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase says that despite the fact that the bigger low-head dam upstream is not needed to provide water power to run a mill as it was in its early days, the council is well aware of the recreational, historic and aesthetic aspects of the dam. However, they also need to keep safety of park users in mind. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says low-head dams are extremely dangerous and have led to fatalities of Iowa anglers, boaters, paddlers, tubers, swimmers, and would-be rescuers. The DNR says that powerful recirculating hydraulics at these small dams can trap and drown unsuspecting river users. Chase says the DNR and the council are considering several options to make the dam safer. He says they had applied for a grant to study the dam.

He says the DNR and Army Corps Of Engineers have no timeline of which he is aware, except the report which is due in a few days. He says of the options that were presented, only two of them included the dam’s removal, and neither of those two would be workable.

Little Dam Rock River Island Park
Small dam over 10 years ago

Chase says the smaller dam downstream just north of the old railroad trestle was also included in the study.

Chase says the city is also still working to replace two shelter houses in the park that were destroyed in the flood of 2014.

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