Ron Kuehn, MCDF attorney update
In October 2014, the MCDF, Xcel Energy and the DNR reached an agreement to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would establish Rest Lake Dam operating parameters including: retention of the 3.5 foot winter drawdown; summer water release (downstream of the dam) and water retention (within the Chain) parameters designed to protect summer water levels in the Chain and summer flow in the river; spring water release from the dam designed to enhance fish spawning in the river (i.e., maximize spring water release when water temperature reaches 51 degrees, which is a key component for fish successful spawning); other provisions designed to provide dam operation flexibility to maximize all of the above, especially during drought conditions. The final terms of this MOU are expected to be reached within the next few weeks.
In addition, the MCDF has continuously kept Legislative leaders informed of the progress of the negotiations with the DNR. Led by State Senator Tom Tiffany, the existing statute that addresses the Xcel affiliate’s (the CFIC) operation of the dam was amended to include a provision that does not allow the DNR to amend the existing Operating Order without approval of the environment committees of the Wisconsin Legislature.