Save Silver Lake Dam Rally Planned in Downtown Rochester Monday

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Residents calling on the City of Rochester to keep the Silver Lake Dam in place are planning to rally before Monday’s Rochester City Council meeting. 

The possible removal of the dam gained traction after state lawmakers included a funding request of $2.36 million from the city for a larger project related to Silver Lake that includes removal of the dam in the Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriation bills in both the Minnesota House and Senate. 

The bills currently direct nearly $90 million of that total to 26 habitat related projects. The Silver Lake Dam project is 24th on the habitat list.

photo by TJ Leverentz TSM-Rochester
photo by TJ Leverentz TSM-Rochester

City of Rochester leaders were previously denied attempts to achieve the funding through the state’s 2020 and 2022 bonding bills, which fund public works projects. 

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The state funding would go towards replacing the 90-year-old dam with a 750-foot channel made up of cascading pools. The city’s website claims the proposal, “aligns with other efforts from the Department of Natural Resources to restore water bodies to more natural pathways by removing traditional dams.”

City of Rochester
City of Rochester

The city contends the new structure would maintain Silver Lake at major flood elevations while also providing for the unobstructed passage of fish and aquatic animals. 

The project is also touted as a way to increase recreational uses, including canoeing and kayaking. 

A group of citizens called Friends of Silver Lake Dam has formed a Facebook group called “Save the Dam at Silver Lake.” The page now has 700 followers. 

The group is planning to hold a rally at 5 p.m. on Monday at the Olmsted County Government Center in downtown Rochester, ahead of the 6 p.m. Rochester City Council meeting. 

Save the Dam at Silver Lake/Facebook
Save the Dam at Silver Lake/Facebook

Following the 30 minute rally, organizers are asking attendees to fill the council chambers while members of the group address the council during the open comment portion of Monday’s meeting.

More Minnesota News:

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Gallery Credit: Andy Brownell

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