|View from the South Dakota side upstream from the bridge|
Dave Finck picked me up this morning for another progress
review of the Klondike dam removal on the Big Sioux River. Over the past two weeks, work has
continued on reshaping the course of the river south of the island that divides
it just before the bridge connecting the South Dakota and Iowa banks.
|View upstream from the Klondike Bridge|
There were two pieces of heavy equipment being used this
morning and regular stops by side-dump trucks filled with large chunks of
quartzite rock. Much more rock has been delivered to the site since our last visit.
|Steps in the river bed from the Iowa side|
A set of eight steps has been created so far in the river
bottom through the passage leading up to the bridge and over where the dam once
stood. The steps are formed from large quartzite boulders and filled with
|Looking across from the Iowa side at steps for river flow|
Neither Dave nor I were able to envision how boats would
pass through this staircase of rocky steps. There is a vast bed of quartzite rock that now extends
across the entire riverbed, including the old ramp on the Iowa side leading
down to the river. It is
certainly the opposite of a sandy bottom leading up to a “put-in” providing
easy access or egress from the river.
|The old "take-out" on the Iowa side now covered in rock|
There is, as yet, no sign of an easy portage around the
rapids being created in the place of the old Klondike dam. But, perhaps one
will emerge as the project continues. A couple of visits ago, the project
manager told me that the portage will be on the SD side but was not part of
this engineering phase. In
any event, there are public access areas on both sides of the river connected
by the old bridge. The bridge is barricaded
to prevent vehicle traffic and is open only for pedestrian use.
|Dave Finck on the Iowa side of the Klondike Bridge|
We have been out to observe progress on the project three
times, and each time seems to be during an especially cold and windy day. While the temperature today was in the
20s, there was a stiff wind blowing that quickly chilled me as well as my
camera, just as it has each time we visited the site.
|Work progressing on the South Dakota side of the river above the bridge|
Klondike was a thriving small Iowa town a generation ago,
but it is now only a few scattered homes on both sides of a gravel road leading
up to the bridge.
|Looking downstream from the Klondike Bridge|
While the river is still frozen over south of the Klondike Bridge,
we passed an open stretch on the way back through Brandon.