BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE) -- The drawdown on Lake Arbutus continues while North American Hydro continues repairs to the Hatfield Dam. North American Hydro staff and contractors have been working diligently to make the needed repairs to the crest gates on the Hatfield Dam after a defective crest gate arm was found on February 16. “The recent weather conditions and high flows have made it impossible to provide safe access and ensure the safety of individuals working near the crest gates”, stated Jereme Klassy of North American Hydro. “The small amount of work that remains is dependent on weather conditions and manageable river flows”.
Installation of the boat barriers near the dam has also been delayed. The boat barriers are usually installed around May 1, but have been also delayed due to weather and river flows. Installation of the boat barriers is dependent upon manageable river flows to ensure worker safety. “Extreme caution should be used if you are boating on Lake Arbutus”, states Clark County Emergency Management Director John Ross.
Jim Beale of the Lake Arbutus Association said, “The current flow at the Hafield Dam is over 10,000 cubic feet a second and all gates are open. If your boat were to stall, you could be taking the ride of your life”. The boat barriers keep boats a safe distance away from the dam and prevents stalled a boat from going over the dam. “Safety is always our first concern”, said Kristina Page, Jackson County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Lake Arbutus is a wonderful recreational area but a little extra caution is needed until the boat barriers can be installed”.
The installation of the boat barriers and refilling of Lake Arbutus will start as soon as the repairs are done.