Restore the Kinnickinnic River through Dam Removal

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Help the Friends of the Kinni restore the Kinnickinnic River through dam removal!

The City of River Falls, Wisconsin has undertaken the “Kinnickinnic River Corridor Planning Process”. As a part of this process, the City Council is scheduled to decide on February 27th, 2018 whether or not to surrender the City’s Federal dam license for the River Falls Hydroelectric Project (FERC #10489). Surrender of the license allows for subsequent river restoration through dam removal.

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge the Kinnickinnic River Corridor Planning Committee and the City Council of the City of River Falls to act now to adopt a plan that calls for surrender of the FERC license for the River Falls Hydroelectric Project (FERC #10489).

As a part of the Kinni Corridor Planning Process, we further request that the plan include timely decommissioning of the hydroelectric facilities, and the complete restoration of the Kinnickinnic River through removal of BOTH the Upper “Junction Falls” Dam & the Lower “Powell Falls” Dam from the Kinnickinnic River.

The Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin is the pride and joy of our community. Our City's Comprehensive Plan states: "The Kinnickinnic River is perhaps the finest coldwater resource in the Upper Midwest, if not in the entire United States. Designated as an Outstanding Water Resource by the Wisconsin DNR, the Kinnickinnic River (also known as the 'Kinni') is one of just two Class I trout streams in Wisconsin that flow through a City of 10,000. This natural gem is truly unique and the center piece of our community which is located on the falls of the Kinnickinnic River."

And yet today our waterfalls are no more. (Learn more here.)

Today, a diversion dam sits at the site of the former "Junction Falls" waterfall of the Kinnickinnic River. The ledges of our former waterfall sit dry today below the dam because the water which would otherwise cascade over our "Junction Falls" waterfall is instead diverted through a 200' long, 6’ x 6’ tube called a penstock in the side of the cliff, completely de-watering the river.

There is no greater damage that can be done to a river than to remove all of the water from its banks!

Furthermore, a full mile of our otherwise pristine, cold-water, world class trout stream is currently destroyed and buried below the stagnant, tepid waters impounded behind the two remaining dams in town. The two 15 acre impoundments (mill ponds) are completely silted in and do not provide any recreational opportunities nor valuable fish habitat. 

The destruction these dams inflict on our beloved Kinni produces a meager 1% - 2% of the electricity our community consumes, through the generation of hydroelectricity at the 375 kWh facility. 

The complete restoration of the Kinnickinnic River through dam removal is a unique opportunity to:

  • Make exceptional use of this public waterway resource
  • Re-create the "Junction Falls" waterfall in the heart of the River Falls community
  • Restore a full mile of world class trout stream
  • Improve the water quality of the Lower Kinni
  • Increase opportunities for recreational and white-water kayaking
  • Create additional urban open green space
  • Improve storm water management
  • And bolster the vitality of our Main Street Community.

Please help us FREE THE KINNI and Put the FALLS Back in River Falls!!

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