Willow River Dam Restoration Project

The Minnesota DNR proposes to replace the damaged Willow River Dam with a rock rapids dam. The dam, built in the 1940s, breached in July 2016 after a large flood overtopped the dam. In its damaged state, the dam no longer holds lake levels at their former elevation. To restore lake levels and to provide for fish passage, the DNR is proposing to fill in the eroded channel and construct a series of rock arch weirs downstream of the existing dam. In addition to allowing fish passage, the rock arch rapids design eliminates safety issues associated with the previous dam structure.


The Minnesota DNR has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the project. The EAW was published in the May 4 EQB Monitor. A 30-day public review and comment period will be open from May 4, 2020 until 4:30 p.m., June 3, 2020.

Deadline for comments:

All written comments on the EAW must be received by Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. People who submit comments will receive a copy of the decision document, which includes responses to comments. Because all comments and related information are part of the public record for this environmental review, commenters' names and email or postal addresses will also be published and publicly available as they appear in the materials they submit.

Comments can be submitted as follows:


Electronic or email comments may be sent to [email protected]  with "Willow River" in the subject line.

By mail:

Becky Horton, Project Manager
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155-4025

By fax:

Submit signed comment letters by fax to 651-296-1811.