November 2018 update: The DNR will move forward with plans to remove the Grindstone River dam at Hinckley.
In recent inspections by DNR dam safety engineers, the structure has received a rating of "poor" due to structural instability and its inability to pass flood flows safely. Unfortunately, there have also been two documented fatal incidents related to the dam. In this case, the status quo is not acceptable so a project at this location has been considered for some time.
DNR staff from different divisions and with various expertise have shared information with the community on two different occasions. The first public meeting was held in September 2017 and provided extensive background information surrounding the structure, its status and history of repairs, ecological impacts of dams, alternatives to be considered, costs, etc. Small group discussions also took place, helping to identify concepts and concerns important to the community.
Over the next 15 months, department staff worked to explore the alternatives through information gathering, hydraulic modeling and local conversations. In late November of 2018, department leadership made the decision to pursue dam removal.
As a result of this decision being made, a second public meeting was held in December of 2018 to update the community. The department now has final design work to complete, as well as a very intensive (in detail) and extensive (in scope) permitting process to navigate. This permit process will ultimately determine the feasibility of dam removal.
Materials, presentations and summaries of discussions held at the two public meetings are available on this page.
Members of the community who are interested in participating in future committees to discuss ways to convey the history of and/or ways to enhance recreational opportunities at the current dam site are encouraged to send their contact information to [email protected]. Hands-on local habitat enhancement opportunities also exist; interested volunteers should also contact us via that email address.
Please continue to check this website for project updates and/or call the Hinckley Area Fisheries office at 320-384-7721 with any questions.