St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Taylors Falls Dam Workers

An early September posting on StCroix360 said

     "Xcel Energy will begin an eight-foot drawdown of the St. Croix Falls Flowage on the St. Croix River on Sept. 12. The drawdown is necessary to provide dry access for contractors who will be rehabilitating the Taylors Falls wall on the west side of the flowage.

The 880-foot-long concrete wall was built in 1906 and has deteriorated over the years. The project includes installing an impermeable membrane on the upstream face of the wall and constructing an earth embankment around the wall.

Work is expected to begin Sept. 18 and be completed by early November, depending on river flow and weather conditions. The flowage will be refilled as soon as the upgrades are complete and should be near full pool by Nov. 20."

Driving through St Croix Falls recently, I noticed that as of mid December, the water was still low and work was still underway.  Having an abnormal amount of curiosity, I tried a few vantage points to see if I could capture what was happening.  Some photos of the activity on Dec 18, 2015. 

First two maps from Google showing the retaining wall on the left, that appears to prevent the raised water from going down main street Taylors Falls, MN.  

As wayward youths, my friends and I went through fences and ignored signs to walk across the long wall with the St Croix on the upper side and a small slough on the lower side.  A broad, big wall that was not at all scary to walk on, although we did wonder if we fell off if we would be sucked into the massive turbines in the power house, that we had visited on school tours. 

From the MN overlook it appears the river had two channels, one to the left where the dam is and another to the right where the concrete wall stands.  

Truck after truck unloaded gravel along the river side of the wall.  A dozer and excavator leveled it.  Along the wall is a black membrane attached. 

On the lower side looking at the 109 year old wall.  It does look rugged and aged. 

Looking across from the St Croix Falls Overlook -- fogged up a little from the river and distance

The  gate to allow logs through 

The river was filled with ice floes, grinding audibly.  

Wild mountain ski area was filled with clouds from the snowmaking machines. 

Water rushed through the old Nevers Dam site, the ice showing the whirling eddies in front of the boat launch.