To perform necessary work and inspections on the 2.3 megawatt power station, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), operator of the 95-year-old Merrill Hydro Electric Generating Station on the Wisconsin River in Lincoln County, will begin reducing the water level in the reservoir above the dam on June 25. WPS will lower the water about six inches each day until the six-foot drawdown is complete. WPS expects to have all necessary work completed by Sept. 18, allowing the reservoir to be refilled by Oct. 1.
WPS expects some of the river bed to be exposed when the water is drawn down. During the drawdown, the public is advised to stay away from construction areas. Parking and recreational use may be restricted in the impacted areas around the dam.
The drawdown efforts of WPS have been coordinated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Lincoln County officials. If stranded fish and other aquatic life are found during the drawdown, they will be moved to a non-impacted part of the river.
As always, care should be taken when using the recreational opportunities on the reservoir.