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Hedgefield Dam near Hickman to undergo renovations

By Linda Bryant and Sara Magnus The State Game Wildlife Management Hedgefield Dam north of 110th and Panama Road is on the list of area dams that will be renovated in 2006.

until the final plans are approved for the dam. Zillig estimates that the NRD’s portion will be at least in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; the NRC will pay for 65% of the cost.

The Hedgefield dam was built as a low hazard dam in 1963. Low hazard dams are defined as dams that are located in areas where failure may damage normally unoccupied buildings, undeveloped land or township and country roads. Several houses have been built downstream from the dam since 1963, making this dam a high hazard classification, precipitating a need to update and protect the area.

“The dam was built over 40 years ago and houses have been built downstream since then. The dam is in good condition, but this development has triggered the need to make over the dam. So if we get 20 inches of rain, the dam can handle it,” said Paul Zillig, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD) Assistant Manager. “Information will be sent to area landowners later this spring inform- ing them of the changes and the increased flood pool area so that work can start this fall.

“The NRD is the local sponsor with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation (NRC) project involved.” said Zillig.

The NRD does not plan to drain the dam completely, but Game and Parks District Five Fisheries manger Jeff Jackson said he is hopeful they will find money in the budget to improve the fishery when the dam is drained down since the water quality is good at Hedgefield.

The dam will be drained down some during the project, but until then, the fishing and wildlife should not be affected in the area according to State Lakes and Reservoirs Program Manager Daryl Bauer.

Jackson said, “Last year, we completed work at Yankee Hill Lake. Unfortunately, with the drought, that lake has not refilled. The rains we’ve gotten recently have missed that area. We tried restocking the lake earlier, but right now it is dry.”

For the past 40 years, local fishermen have treated Hedgefield dam as their private fishing hot spot, enjoying the good fishing as well as the peace and quiet of the dam compared to the larger, busier state lakes nearby.

The Natural Resources District is using a federal small watershed rehabilitation program to bring the Hedgefield dam, located south- east of Hickman, along with two other area dams into compliance. The Upper Salt 19-B dam at 96th and Saltillo and the Upper Salt 35- A dam northeast of Hickman will also undergo renovations in the near future. Hedgefield dam will be the first to start renovations.

The NRD is currently in the process of getting the state and federal permits. The construction project should be in full swing by the end of 2006.

The largest fish is the whale shark, which weighs more than twice as much as an African elephant!

The cost of the project is still being figured and will not be known

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