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Estabrook Dam removal on the Milwaukee River

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A call to action: Here is how you can make a difference:



Dear fellow anglers,


A vote will be taking place shortly regarding the future of the Estabrook Park Dam on the Milwaukee River by the committee of Parks, Energy and the Environment of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.


Please join the Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Great Waters Group, Trout Unlimited-Southeast Wisconsin Chapter, and Milwaukee Steelheaders in calling for the removal of this dam.


The impoundment created by the dam creates an artificial pool of stagnant water, degrades fish habitat, prevents fish migration, warms the water, lowers dissolved oxygen levels, and allows sediment accumulation. The sediments are also full of toxic PCBs.


The removal of the dam would greatly improve water quality and fishing opportunities for us.


Unfortunately, we are opposed by a highly organized group of homeowners along the river upstream of the dam, who are concerned with the loss of the impoundment which they refer to as “The largest inland lake in Milwaukee County.”


Please help us in these efforts to advocate for the removal of the Estabrook Dam.

Email, call, and or write to the members of the County committee of Parks, Energy and the Environment, and tell them you support dam removal.


If you are an out of state angler, and fish our river, all the better. The parties involved need to understand that this is not a simple local issue, and that the decision they make will effect anglers, nature lovers, boaters, and others who use the river for recreation.


I drafted a simple letter that follows below. Feel free to copy and paste it to form the body of your email or letter. Also feel free to add your perspectives and wording to your request to the supervisors.


The few minutes it will take to send an email, call, or letter will be of enormous importance in helping to restore this vital natural resource, and improve your angling experience.


Thanking you in advance, and yours in service to the river,


Erik F. Helm



Here is the list of County Supervisors on the committee:




Parks, Energy and Environment - Committee Members


Gerry Broderick, Chair

414 278-4237



Joe Sanfelippo, Vice Chair

414 278-4247



Elizabeth Coggs

414 278-4265



Marina Dimitrijevic

414 278-4232



Joseph Rice

414 278-4243



Chris Larson

414 278-4252



Theodore Lipscomb

414 278-4257



All of the supervisors have the same mailing address at:


Milwaukee County Courthouse

901 North 9th Street, RM 201

Milwaukee, WI 53233

Phone: 414-278-4222 Fax: 414-223-1380



Sample email/letter to send:



Dear Milwaukee County Supervisor:

As a sports fisher of the Milwaukee River I call on the Milwaukee County Board, and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Standing Committee on Parks, Energy, and Environment to take the following actions:


1. Vote to NOT fund repairs of the Estabrook Park dam.

2. Do advocate for the removal of the Estabrook Park dam.

3. Do advocate for the restoration and cleanup of the Milwaukee River from the current Estabrook Park dam location to Kletch Park.


I would like to see the restoration of the wild aspect of this natural river area for current and future generations, and to improve water quality, remove contaminated sediments, remove barriers to fish passage, improve fisheries, minimize flooding, and improve public access to this urban natural resource.


I call for this so that all persons enjoying the river or engaging in recreational activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or hiking along the river’s edge will have an improved experience in this urban park environment. I believe that the ecological health restored by a free flowing river is of higher long-term value than maintaining the current impoundment created by the dam. As a fisherman, I contribute license revenue to the state of Wisconsin, and to the revenue of the county, city, and state in the form of fees, and patronizing local businesses.

The Milwaukee River is a wonderful asset to the community, and the removal of the North Avenue Dam helped create a fishery that I and many others enjoy.


I urge you to vote for the removal of the Estabrook Dam, which in my view would greatly contribute to our recreational experience.





Full Address:



Get bent!.... rod that is.

Here is a draft of a letter top the Milwaukee County supervisors for the removal of the Estabrook Dam . I know I am a Il. Smallmouth Alliance member , but I also fish in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana . The Milwaukee River is a very good urban fishery, I have caught Steelhead, Browns, Salmon, Smallies, Walleyes, and other fish on this River. Their will be a vote on if they will supply funds to repair dam . It would benifit the river if the dam was gone. So please send a e-mail or letter to Milwaukee County supervisors in favor of removal of the Estabrook dam. Thank you Carl Butler

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In this particular case it has little to do with Smallmouth and everything to do with the spring and fall run of Salmon and Steelhead. Right now the dam is a very difficult obstacle for them to pass and very few make it. By removing the dam it opens up all the area above to these fish and the anglers and the land owners don't want the riff-raff.


I have fished the run once there in the past and won't go back for several reasons, none of which has to do with the quality or quantity of fish.




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