Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage

Repairs to century-old dam will require dropping the water in the reservoir by about eight feet.




2 minute read

Via Xcel Energy:

St. Croix Falls dam at high flows in spring (NPS photo)
St. Croix Falls dam at high flows in spring (NPS photo)

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.

The St. Croix River is a federally designated natural and scenic river way, and the St. Croix Falls Hydro is the only existing dam on the river. Completed in 1906, the plant was built to provide electricity across the river to Minneapolis-St. Paul. A feature that distinguishes the St. Croix Falls plant from other Xcel Energy hydro facilities is its S-shaped spillway. The spillway had to be constructed as a curve to increase its crest length, because the river at the site forms a gorge through which passes a large volume of water.

Xcel Energy has coordinated this project through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Chisago County and Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office.

The St. Croix Falls Hydro is one of 19 hydroelectric facilities in Wisconsin owned and operated by Xcel Energy.


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One response to “Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage”

  1. Brian Finstad Avatar
    Brian Finstad

    It isn’t the only dam on the St. Croix – there is the Gordon Dam too!


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Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage