Dam Update

May 1, 2023
By Dam Committee Co-Chairs Andy Aplikowski and Scott Bassett Following the completion of the dam in the fall of 2019 there was a lot of concern about Big Blake Lake water levels. The lake did experience high water levels after the Dam’s construction so, the dam committee was initiated that fall and then formalized in the spring of 2020. The committee is made up of volunteers who own property on the lake. Since formalizing the dam committee, we have spent significant time studying the dam, it’s construction, its intended operation, and monitoring rainfall. Additionally, we have had many conversations with the dam engineers and our DNR partners to learn and verify our understanding of dam operations. For the past three years we have tracked water levels on a weekly basis through the summer and monthly during the winters. Over this time, we have experimented with removing and adding stop logs to understand the impact on water levels. After 3 years of careful monitoring, we can confidently say the high water after construction was not the result of the Dam and that the Dam is operating as designed. The high water level after constructions was due to several issues outside of our control: persistent rain in September of 2019 with 27 of 30 days having rainfall; the removal of an upstream dam that sent higher than normal amounts of water down through Big Round and into Big Blake; and we also learned we have to monitor and clean debris such as loose weeds that build up along the Dam effectively raising the crest thus raising Blake Lake water levels. As a result of these efforts, we have proposed the Dam Committee roles and responsibilities be updated to the following:
  • The board will make decisions about adding/removing stop logs going forward with input from the committee
    • We have learned that water levels fluctuate normally with all stop logs in as the dam was intended. Stop logs will only need to be removed for two reasons; 1) To draw down the lake level to facilitate repairs to the dam 2) To pass minimum flow during significant droughts as required by the DNR
    • The dam committee will ensure there are people trained to remove/add stop logs if ever needed
  • The Dam Committee will monitor water levels on a monthly basis all year. The water level as measured at the dam on 4/2/2023 is 9.49
    • With three years of data, we feel confident that water levels will follow the same pattern. The lakes normal fluctuation is 3-4” from the highest point during the spring melt to lowest point during mid-summer
  • The Dam Committee will conduct and document the annual inspection as soon as possible after ice out and inform the board of their findings
  • The Dam Committee will assist the board in facilitation of the 10-year inspection. Decisions on selection of Engineering firm and any actions needed following the inspection will be made by the board.
  • The Dam Committee will inspect the Dam on a monthly basis during open water season for debris and organize cleaning events as needed throughout the year. We will rely on dam committee members for help with this and will reach out to the broader lake community if needed.
  • The Dam Committee will provide updates to the district at the Fall Meeting in August. If there is anything of importance following the spring inspection, we will use the spring meeting as well if requested by the board. Other updates and requests for help with dam cleaning will happen through the district website and/or Facebook
Dam Advisory Committee Members: Luke Mendlik, Jody Binfet, Jolene Martinson, Ryan Schneiderr, Scott Mercer

Water Level Update

May 24, 2021
By Scott Bassett & Gerry Smith As to the current water levels on Big Blake Lake, the Dam Inspection, Operation and Maintenance Plan (IOMP) states that the Normal Pool Elevation is 1149.3 +/- and our water level is currently 9.3 as of May 18, 2021. It is very important to note that our lake is a flowage and it is going to fluctuate. During 2020, we saw about 4″ of total fluctuation from the highest to lowest measurements of the season. Basic dam information:
  • Dam Sequence No. 4548
  • Field File No. 48.31
  • DNR plan approval No. IP-NO-2016-49-03104
  • Structure Height 8.5’±
  General design information:
  • Drainage area is 24 square miles
  • Normal pool Surface area is 302 acres
  • Water surface area at maximum pool is 420 acres
  • Normal pool elevation = 1149.3±
  • Q100 water surface elevation 1152.9
  If we add back a fourth stop log to the dam, the water level would rise @ .06 on the measurement scale which is 1/2″ of lake level. If, on top of that, we get the rain that is forecasted, we will be above 9.4 and property owners will report the lake is too high.   Within the past week, we have consulted with Mike Rogney, Water Management Engineer, WDNR, regarding complaints about water levels. We have also shared our 2020-2021 dam maintenance and operating data with him and discussed how we are managing the dam. The Big Blake Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District will continue to work closely with the WDNR on operation of the dam. The goal is to maintain and find a balance that is within the district’s limited control. As to the lake levels on Big Blake Lake being higher in one spot than it is in another, we offer these thoughts. Water seeks its own level; this is a scientific fact so it’s not possible for the water level to be different in any meaningful way. What is different around the lake is the topography of the lake shore. Depending on the characteristics of a person’s lake shore, a change in water level of 1-2″ can seem more severe. As an example: some shorelines have relatively high embankment and beach areas that drop off fairly quickly. If the water goes up or down a couple inches, it’s not really noticeable. As a comparison, for a shoreline that is low and has a flatter grade (less depth) in the beach area, a change in water level of a couple inches is going to be far more noticeable.    We can only manage the lake level to the measurement at the dam. There is no way to address everyone’s unique situations, property owners need to accept some of this responsibility.  We have learned how the dam can be used and established a desired water level range that is good for the lake and should keep most property owners happy. If we can keep the lake in this range 80% of the time, we think we will have done a  great job. It’s worth repeating that we can’t control mother nature and drought or wet periods are going to cause the lake to fluctuate outside the range.  

Water Level Update

May 15, 2021
Here is the dam committee’s report from the District’s Spring Meeting on May 15, 2021. See slides about water levels during the past year, dam maintenance and committee activities. Dam Committee Update May 2021 »  

Meeting Minutes

May 23, 2020 – Dam Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes »  


Water Level Update

May 2020
The water level committee continues to monitor water levels week-to-week according to precipitation levels, observations or member reports of shoreline flooding, and measurements at the dam. Stop logs are removed or added as levels fluctuate. The most recent meeting of the committee was on May 2 at the dam. If you want to volunteer on this committee or have questions about water levels, contact the committee coordinator Jim Maxwell. He can be reached at 715-554-4101 or papamaxwell@hotmail.com. To review past information about the dam reconstruction from 2016-2019, visit http://blakelake.org/news.  


Water Level Update

January 2020
At the annual meeting in August there was much discussion about record high water levels and shoreline damage. A motion unanimously passed to remove three of the four stop logs in the dam and manage water levels by committee. A water level committee formed Thanks to all of the District members that volunteered to serve on the committee. The coordinator is Jim Maxwell. He can be reached at papamaxwell@hotmail.com. Members of the committee include Jamie Goulet, Deb and Randy Sevelius, Renee & Mark Gisch, Luke Mendlik, Jeff & Sherry Jerry, Joline Martinson, Andy Aplikowski, and Gerry Smith. How many stop logs (boards) are out of the dam at present?  All four stop logs (boards) were removed after the last heavy rainfall this Fall. The committee is monitoring the dam monthly and will tentatively be adding 1 to 2 stop logs in January. Was it the plan to keep the lake extra low this winter?   While lake levels are lower than what they were this Summer, the level is not lower than lake levels prior to the dam failure.  Some District members indicate that their shorelines are still under water. We are striving to find the right water level for all District members. Background The dam was completed in November 2018. The water level was set to the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHM) by the DNR using years of good historical data collected before the dam went out. Upon completion of the dam, we received the Dam Inspection, Operation and Maintenance Plan (IOMP) for managing the dam. See document at http://blakelake.org/records/. In 2019, it was the first year with our new dam and water levels were very high due to persisting heavy rains. Throughout the year, we have been consulting with DNR and Polk County about water levels. We have 4 removable stop logs in the dam design to adjust water levels. If water levels are higher than the OHW mark, the District can remove stop logs to let more water out of the lake, until the OHW mark is achieved. The District owns the Dam and is responsible for routine inspections, operation and needed maintenance. To review past information about the dam reconstruction from 2016-2019, scroll down on this page. 

High Water Levels Persisting

July 2019
Many of our District members are frustrated with how the many rain events we are experiencing during this incredibly wet spring and summer are impacting Blake Lake’s water levels. The “set level” (historic ordinary high water mark, OHWM) of the dam has only been met once this season, and it was only for about one day. Otherwise, we have had higher than normal water throughout – as have other area lakes in Polk County. The timing of our unusually high water levels could not have been worse as it seems to correspond with the construction of the dam (completed 11-9-18).  By all accounts of Polk County officials, water is not uniquely high on Big Blake Lake, water levels are high all over.  Polk County confirmed measurements of Blake Lake water levels on May 17 at 4.5 inches higher than OHWM. On July 15, the water level was approximately 2” over OHWM. Measurements on Horseshoe Lake and Long Lake, for example, are 6”-9” above recorded levels last year. More rounds of storms are forecast as this goes out. While correlation is not causation, we took actions immediately after our May 18 Spring Meeting to help the water flow out of our flowage lake as fast as possible, namely removing some of the stop-logs from the dam, and have been monitoring it regularly since then. We will continue to do so. We hope this will ease people’s minds to understand that the dam is not what is holding the water levels high this year, rather it is the continuous onslaught of wet weather. Water is continually flowing over and through the dam as it should do during high water events. Removing the stop-logs helps the water flow out a little faster, but Mother Nature controls the heavy precipitation we continue to get this year.  The District owns the Dam and is responsible for routine inspections, operation and needed maintenance. This is our first year as Dam owners. We will continue to monitor water levels day-by-day or weekly as needed during high flow conditions. We are also monitoring extended periods of greater than average precipitation. This includes removing stop-logs as needed. See more on the Dam Inspection, Operation & Maintenance Plan (Dam IOMP), which can be found at http://blakelake.org/records/ see “Documents” at the bottom of the Records page. Over the past few years, some members gave the Board concerns that the lake was too low during the Dam reconstruction. They were unable to get boats lifts in until this year. Now, this year, there are members highly concerned about flooding. Rest assured, the Board will continue to act on member input and work within DNR guidelines toward the best interest of all members.  We are preparing for the Annual Meeting on August 17. The agenda includes a Dam Update and discussion of the water levels.  

Dam Reconstruction Update

December 13, 2018
After a long and arduous journey, we are happy to report that the dam reconstruction project is complete. On November 8th, the District met with the DNR for a final site inspection and everything was approved. The construction costs were reduced by $15,293. This will be further offset by the $117,667 cost-sharing dam grant we were awarded by the DNR on August 22nd. The Dam Committee is working to submit the final costs to the DNR for the grant payment. The reconstruction project kicked off on July 2nd with a pre-construction meeting with the District, John Olynick, Inc. and our project engineer Larry Gotham. This was to review the project work to be done. At that time, it was realized that since the time of the original survey, a fiber optic cable had been placed underneath the dam site with the potential to be damaged. As such, our project engineer had to submit a change order to the DNR. This was sent to the DNR on August 8th and was approved by the DNR on August 17th. Construction began on August 28th. The construction was completed on October 18th. There have been a couple questions thus far with regards to the height or level of the dam which placed the dam at a higher water mark than it has been over the last couple of years. That water mark was determined by the DNR from measurements taken prior to the initial dam erosion and were set as a part of the overall plan. According to our engineer, that will remain as the water mark and the only time it will change is after significant rain where is could be up to an inch higher until it levels out. In 2014, the land on the north and south sides of the dam was all owned by the Sherrard family. Now, the land on the north side of the dam is owned by Luke Mendlik (owner of the campground and bar). The land on the south side of the dam is private property, now owned by Caarin and Joe Pannkuk (as of 2017). The dam itself and land easement the dam is built on is owned by the District. This project started back in 2014, when we sat down with the DNR to discuss our options for reconstructing the recently failed dam. While it seemed like a long time (it was), it was the persistence of many of our District members, the DNR and our project management team that finally won the day. We would like to send out special thanks to many that went out of their way to make this a success: Bill Sturtevant and Mike Rogney with the Wisconsin DNR, Larry Gotham who shared with us ‘everything dam’ and guided us down the path, our current and past Board members Adam Elliott, Peggy Lauritsen, Sam Rivers, Jen Wistrcill and Shelley Rodriquez who were relentless in obtaining financing, working on the assessments, communicating with the District and so much more. Also, we would like to thank Jim Maxwell, Tom Borden and Jim Filkens for helping kick things off, as well as being our feet on the ground during construction. Finally, a well-deserved thanks to the Sherrard family, Luke Mendlik and Caarin and Joe Pannkuk for all their assistance and cooperation. Happy winter and we look forward to seeing all your smiling faces come spring!   

DNR Dam Grant Awarded to Blake Lake District

July 6, 2018
Dear Blake Lake P&R District (BLPRD) members, 
Your BLPRD Board and BLPRD Dam Committee members are happy to announce that we are the proud recipients of a Municipal Dam Grant through WI DNR in the amount of  $128,674.50. The grant is intended to pay up to 50% of the reconstruction costs. The financials will be determined once all dam-related bills and expenses are presented for payment; we should have a good general idea of the financials by the time of our Annual Meeting on Aug. 18, 2018. See the dam eligibility letter here »


Dam Update

June 2018 We are progressing toward completion of the dam reconstruction project. In April, we sent out all bidding documents and received six responses.  The bids were opened at the offices of Morgan & Parmley on May 18th, 2018.  The lowest bid was $204,985 which was 25% less than the next lowest bidder.  The bid was awarded to John S. Olynick, Inc. in Gilman, WI. Our engineer, Larry Gotham has worked on many dam projects with Olynick and has nothing but good things to say.   The overall dam project cost is still a bit in flux but is now estimated at $250,000 – $270,000 when everything is completed. Olynick wants to begin construction in July.  We are working with them on solidifying the project plan and associated dates of completion. Earlier, our engineer had suggested that the project would take about six weeks to complete once construction begins.   In parallel, we are waiting on the results of our DNR dam grant application.  We will find out on July 5th if we were awarded a grant. Construction is planned to start in July. If we are awarded the grant, the grant will cover 50% of our overall cost of the project.  The cost includes construction costs as well as all other associated costs (legal, engineering, etc.). The DNR grant program is a reimbursement program – paid after the project is complete. If we receive a grant, the final paper work would probably not be done until late fall.   Cash flow is needed to pay the construction company $204,000 upon completion in August. We have a balance of $72,922.77 in the dam project account. We will need to borrow additional funds whether we receive the grant or not.  The additional funds needed will be $100,000-$140,000.  If we receive the grant, then we will be reimbursed after project completion. This will allow us to determine the final assessments and timing.

Dam Update

March 2018

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott Dear Blake Lake District Members, As outlined in previous communications, our intent is to complete all reconstruction of the Big Blake Lake Dam in 2018.  Just to review, we decided to hold off on completing the project in 2017 as we learned that DNR grants for dam reconstruction were likely to be available in 2018.  DNR dam grants were approved in the 2018 Wisconsin state budget and we are currently in the process of applying for a DNR grant which would cover approximately 50% of all dam related reconstruction costs. Here is a summary of where we are at and the project timeline for 2018:
  • The dam grants are based on how many “points” you are awarded for your project. Over the past few weeks, our Project Engineer/Manager Larry Gotham – Morgan & Parmley) completed the Inspection, Maintenance & Operation plan and the Emergency Action Plan, and submitted to the DNR.  Both of these plans were approved by the Wisconsin DNR.
  • These will be submitted along with the grant application before April 30th, 2018.
  • Currently, we are preparing bidding documents for prospective construction companies. We expect to begin advertising for dam bids in April 2018.
  • Bids will be open for approximately 30 days.
  • July 5th, 2018 is when the DNR will inform us if we have been awarded a grant.
  • If awarded, we will need to obtain the DNR award grant agreement which is expected to be delivered by August 5th, 2018.
  • We would expect to award the bid to a contractor on or about August 5th, 2018.
  • If awarded a grant, we would expect to begin construction around September 1st, 2018 with construction ending on or about October 15th, 2018.
  • Note: if the grant is not awarded, we expect construction to start at an earlier date.

Dam Update

December 2017

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott Dear Blake Lake District Members, Here is a review of the project highlights and the latest update. Our year in review:
  • In March 2017, the Wisconsin DNR approved our dam reconstruction plans.
  • In July 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved our plans. With this approval, we authorized our engineer at Morgan & Parmley to begin preparing bidding documents to begin the reconstruction.
  • About this time, two things occurred:
    • We understood that sending out bidding documents out this late in the year was not the ideal time of the year to receive the best and lowest cost bids.
    • We also learned that grant monies were specified in the State of Wisconsin budget for dam reconstruction projects in 2018. The grants are structured to cover 50% of all dam reconstruction related costs. While the grant monies were specified, we had to wait for the budget to be approved.
  • Given the above, we decided to hold off on the reconstruction project until 2018.
Current update:
  • The State budget has now been approved with the grant monies specified.
  • We are currently applying for a DNR dam grant. Our dam engineer at Morgan & Parmley has prepared an Operations, Inspection and Maintenance Plan (OIMP) as well as an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). Providing these plans will increase our chances of being selected for a dam grant.
  • It is our intention to go through the dam grant process and hopefully be selected, which would pay for 50% of our overall costs. If the total cost of the project ends up costing $300,000, the grant would cover $150,000.
  • Whether the grant is approved or not, we are intending on sending out bidding documents in the spring of 2018 and finalizing the construction project in 2018.
 Adam Elliott, Sam Weber, Tom Borden, Jim Filkins and Peggy Lauritsen. Dam Committee Members, Big Blake Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District  

Dam Update

August 2017

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott Q: What is the current status of the Dam Project? A: We just received word in early July that the Army Corps of Engineers approved our project. This was the last item needed before sending out the bidding documents. Q: Will the dam project be completed in 2017? A: Great question. We originally had planned to complete in 2017. However, this spring we learned that $5 million dollars in grant money had been set aside for dam re-construction projects.  These would be for projects completed in 2018. We would need to apply by November 2017. If awarded the grant, the grant would pay up to 50% of our overall cost. If the dam project ended up costing $250,000 — the grant would result in a savings of $125,000. Q: So, are we going to wait and apply for the grant? A: Given the very large amount of the grant as well as what we feel is a decent probability of receiving a grant, we are going to pursue the grant monies and plan on completion of the dam project in 2018. Our existing approved permits are good for 2 years, so this does not present a problem. Q: How are we going to handle the assessments? A: We are not going to change the assessment method, so it will be as it was for 2017. Depending on the final bids and potential for grant monies, we will re-adjust. Q: What is our status with respect to the WDNR? A: We were informed by the WDNR in 2014 that we had an illegal dam. They informed us that we would either need to re-construct the dam or they would remove the dam completely.  The WDNR has been very cooperative since day 1. Yes — we have to re-construct the dam, but as long as we continue to make progress and work closely with the WDNR, we have no reason to believe that they will have any issues with completing the dam in 2018. You can see previous dam updates below.

Dam Reconstruction Update

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott April 2017 Dear Blake Lake District Members, We are actively working on the dam reconstruction project. Here is our latest update. Our engineer, Larry Gotham, will be our guest speaker and is ready to answer more of your questions at the Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Q1: Where are we at with the dam project? A: Over the winter, our engineering firm (Morgan & Parmley) worked diligently with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to finalize a plan to reconstruct the Blake Lake Dam in such a way that meets a 100 year flood event and appropriate for our lake. On March 16, 2017, the DNR gave us final approval for the dam. The final plan accepted technically considers our dam a “large dam” with a height exceeding 6 feet.  We are now proceeding with steps toward completing the project. Q2: With the new plan, what are the estimated total costs for the dam project? A: According to our engineering firm, the estimated costs are $247,000, which includes all costs incurred to date. They advised that these costs could vary by 10% of this estimate. We will not be able to finalize this cost until bids are received. Q3: What are the next steps and estimated timeline that need to be taken to complete the dam project? A: According to our engineering firm, here are the next steps (expected to be completed in 2017):
  1. S. Army Corp of Engineers: Right now, we are waiting on final approval from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which takes place after the DNR plan was approved. We are expecting this approval any day.
  2. Bidding Documents: We have authorized construction and have directed Morgan & Parmley to prepare the bidding documents.
  3. Bidding Process: Morgan & Parmley will now complete the bidding documents, begin advertising and receiving bids. The lowest cost responsible bidder will be awarded the contract.
  4. Construction: Upon contract signing and a pre-construction conference, construction will begin.
  5. Completion: Project completion and certification to the DNR is expected in the fall of 2017.
  Q4:  Where are we at on financing? A: The Blake Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District (BLPRD) originally applied for a $150,000 loan based on initial cost estimates. This loan was taken in August 2015 when it was believed that the project would be completed in 2016. It is a 5-year loan with a 3% interest rate, and we can pay the loan off early if desired. The total finance charge is approximately $12,000. At the August, 2016 Annual Meeting, our project engineer Larry Gotham described how the dam would likely be larger than originally thought and that costs could be $225,000. Given this information, a motion was made/carried to increase our ability to borrow from $150,000 to $250,000. We have now made two payments on this 5-year loan. In addition, we have incurred approximately $30,000 in costs for legal fees, survey and engineering work, permits, etc. District members will note the additional line item for loan repayment on their Real Estate Property Tax Bill for 2016. Given the existing loan and costs, we made our first assessment for the dam to lake district members in January 2017. At this point, the board is considering options to finance the increased cost of the dam. Q5:  How were properties assessed? A: The BLPRD polled the district members at the 2015 annual meeting and considered various methods to assess properties.  The final method chosen breaks down as follows:
    • The total estimated cost of the dam was considered.  All eligible properties in the lake district are considered
    • Properties are designated as either shoreline properties or non-shoreline properties
    • Sixty percent of the overall cost is assigned to every property (shoreline or non-shoreline)
    • The remaining cost is assessed to shoreline properties based on lineal feet of shoreline
    Q6:  How are these costs being assessed? A: Each loan will be paid back over 5 years, so you will pay four more installments on our current $150,000 loan, which are shown as an separate line item on your real estate tax statement and are payable in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  Additional financing will be assessed as needed and repaid in the same manner as this current loan. Q7:  Could the costs be more than the estimated $250,000? A: This is possible. Right now, our cost estimates are based on our engineer’s experience with similar dam projects and an initial estimate from a construction company.  We will not have final cost estimates until all bids are received. Q8: Will there be a footbridge near the dam? A: It is undecided. At this time, there is a pending sale of the land on the south side of the dam with new ownership involved. We have a permit approved for a future footbridge and a recommended location. Q9: What are the anticipated water levels this Summer before the reconstructed dam is complete? A: Because Big Blake Lake is on a flowage, the water levels can fluctuate based on many factors, including Spring run-offs, overall precipitation and other factors. At the end of last Summer, the water levels were manageable with the existing dam. We are working closely with the DNR to do what we can to maintain the existing levels until the dam project is complete. Q10: Should I be putting in our docks and boats this Spring, or wait until the dam project is complete? A: As mentioned above, the water levels can fluctuate, especially with the current state of the dam. While we do not anticipate water levels dropping to levels that may impact your dock and boat placement, your decision is personal preference and may depend on the shoreline water depth near your property. Q11: If I am selling my property, what do I need to disclose to a potential buyer? A: Please consult your realtor or real estate professional about what you need to disclose. The board is doing our best to be transparent and update all members about the costs, timelines, risks and process as we move forward. Q12: When the old dam is removed, will lake levels drop significantly? A: The engineers have told us that this is not the expectation. The plan calls for placing the new dam west of the old dam and then to remove the old dam after placement of the new dam. Q13: Will maintenance be required on the new dam? A: Yes. Periodic inspections will be required and we will have secured the necessary easements and rights to inspect, maintain and repair (if necessary) the dam. We do not anticipate significant incremental costs to perform inspection, maintenance and repairs. We are anticipating any incremental costs to be covered in our annual budget. 2016 Annual Meeting Minutes We hope you will be joining us at the Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 20 at 8:30am. SAVE THE DATE! To catch up on what happened at the Annual Meeting in August, get meeting minutes here >> Respectfully, Adam Elliott, Sam Weber, Tom Borden, Jim Filkins and Peggy Lauritsen. Dam Committee Members, Big Blake Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District  


Update: Blake Lake Dam Reconstruction

March 16, 2017

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott Dear Blake Lake District Members, We have been actively working on the dam reconstruction project since the annual meeting in August. Our engineer has been working with the DNR to meet all of the requirements we must follow. Our goal of this email is to bring you up to date on our progress and answer some of the questions you may have.
 Our engineer, Larry Gotham, will be our guest speaker, and ready to answer more of your questions at the Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 20, 2017. What else? Q: What is the current status of the dam reconstruction project? A: Our project engineer is Larry Gotham (Morgan & Parmley, LTD – Ladysmith, WI). Over the winter, our project engineer has been going back and forth with the DNR to gain final approval for the dam reconstruction project design. We have provided all plans, and expect to obtain final approvals any day now. While we were anticipating March 1st, it now looks like April 1st. Q: What are the steps for the project once the DNR approves our plans? A: The BLPRD board will review the DNR approvals and authorize construction and direct Morgan and Parmley to prepare construction bidding documents. Here is a summary of the next steps.
  • Morgan and Parmley completes the bidding documents.
  • Advertising for the bids begins.
  • Bids are opened.
  • The BLPRD reviews the bids and authorizes award to the lowest responsible bidder.
  • Contracts are signed and preconstruction conference is held.
  • Construction begins
  • Construction is completed.
  Q: What is the timeframe for the dam to be completed? A: Currently our project engineer is estimating that the entire project will be completed 195 days after the DNR approvals are obtained. If approvals are obtained by April 1st as expected, construction would be completed in the mid-October timeframe. Q: What was the final determination for the type of dam needed? A: Originally, our project engineer and the DNR believed that a small dam would suffice. After all measurements and calculations, it was determined that we would need a larger dam. The current plan is to build what the DNR refers to as a large dam. Q: What is the estimated cost of the revised large dam? A: The initial estimate for the total cost of the revised dam reconstruction project is $250,000.  This includes all construction costs as well as all permits, legal and engineering fees. This does not include the cost of the footbridge placement or construction. The exact location of a footbridge is not set. A footbridge cannot be placed over the new dam. Also, the ownership of the land for a footbridge has changed. Q: How does this compare to what Morgan and Parmley outlined at our Annual Meeting? A: At the Annual Meeting, our project engineer, Larry Gotham estimated that the cost would be $225,000. This led to a motion that was approved by members to increase the dam budget to $250,000. Q: How and when will we then pay for the dam? A: BLPRD took out a loan for $150,000 to pay for the project. This loan is from the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. It is a 5 year loan with an interest rate of 3%. There is no penalty for early payment. The first installment of $32,328 was made in March, 2016 and a second installment in March 2017. Assessments: Final calculations for the per-parcel special assessment will be developed as construction bids come in and final costs can be determined. Based on current information, we anticipate additional costs of $100,000 to complete the dam, which will be assessed in the same manner as the loan payment. Respectfully,
 Adam Elliott, Sam Weber, Tom Borden, Jim Filkins and Peggy Lauritsen. Dam Committee Members, Big Blake Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District

2016 Annual Meeting Minutes

We hope you will be joining us at the Spring Meeting on Saturday, May 20 at 8:30am. SAVE THE DATE! To catch up on what happened at the Annual Meeting in August, get meeting minutes here >>


Dam reconstruction update

July 25, 2016

By Co-Chair Adam Elliott Where are we at? 1. The land needed to reconstruct the dam has now been transferred from the Sherrard Estate to the Blake Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District (BLPRD). 2. Our Project Engineer — Larry Gotham (Morgan & Parmley, LTD – Ladysmith, WI) has completed all surveys and is currently working on the dam reconstruction plan. Based on the nature of our lake and flowage, it was recommended that the type of dam needed is a rip rap rock chute. 3. The initial estimates for the total cost of the dam reconstruction project was between $100,000 and $150,000. 4. In August, 2015 the BLPRD took out a loan for $150,000 to pay for the project. This loan is from the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. It is a 5 year loan with an interest rate of 3%. There is no penalty for early payment. The first installment of $32,328 was made in March, 2016. What is next? 1. Per the plan, Morgan & Parmley are currently finalizing the plans for the dam. This is expected in May. 2. Once these plans are complete, they will be submitted to the DNR to obtain their approval for the project. It is expected that the DNR will take approximately 3 months to get through the approval process, but there is no guarantee on this time frame. 3. Once the project is approved, a request for construction bids will go out. Once the construction company has been identified, reconstruction of the dam will begin. The actual reconstruction of the dam is expected to take a few weeks. 4. We are hoping to complete all construction in the fall of 2016, but the final date will be dictated by when we receive approval from the DNR. What else? The plan calls for a footbridge to be placed over the dam. We will either use the old foot bridge or construct a new footbridge. This decision will be determined by cost as well as safety. The footbridge will be submitted to the DNR as part of the plan. As a part of the land transfer process, all parties agreed that the dam will be named “The Sherrard Family Dam” and appropriate signage will designate at the site.