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Construction of the Kletzsch Park Dam Repair and Fish Passage is nearly complete. Dam repairs required more time and more work than originally planned because more of the stone around the east side of the dam crumbled as we began the required repair work. The fishway channel will be finished in early December, and water from the river will begin flowing through the channel. We will share photos of the finished project very soon.
To submit any questions or comments about the project or to receive MMSD project update emails for the Milwaukee Estuary Area of concern, please visit the bottom of the page.
Sign-Up for Milwaukee Estuary AOC Email Updates
Fish passage on the Milwaukee River at the Kletzsch Dam is critical for native fish, such as northern pike and lake sturgeon, to reach higher-quality spawning and nursery habitat in the upper reaches of the Milwaukee River. These native fish are weak jumpers and unable to move past the dam to complete their travels upstream to spawn. When man-made barriers like dams prohibit or delay fish movement in our waterways, fish passage facilities can be used to help fish move through or around the barrier to get where they need to go.
The Kletzsch Dam Fish Passage project is intended to address required dam repairs and to provide fish passage for native species within the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). Kletzsch Dam is the largest remaining fish passage barrier on the Milwaukee River between Lake Michigan and Grafton. Restoring this fish passage will allow native fish in the Milwaukee Estuary to move from Lake Michigan to upstream areas encompassing 25 miles of river, 29 miles of tributary streams, and 2,400 acres of wetlands – reconnecting river habitats and allowing the fish to migrate throughout the region. This project is done in partnership with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Milwaukee County Parks.
This project is part of a larger initiative to restore the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). Learn more about the AOC by watching this John Gurda video or visiting the Waterway Restoration Partnership website.
*Timeline subject to change.
Learn about the Milwaukee Estuary AOC and MMSD projects.
In this video, Milwaukee historian John Gurda shares the next steps in an ambitious plan to clean up the remaining historical pollution in the rivers and harbor of the Milwaukee Estuary AOC.
Learn about MMSD's Lincoln Park Oxbow & Estabrook Falls Milwaukee River Habitat Enhancement project.