WVIC

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

From a few yards away, a woman and four small children watch a massive machine rumble to life.

They stand, look, and point as a boat is lifted by the Burnt Rollways Boat Hoist, carried over a road and dam, and dropped gently in the water on the other side.

“It’s a novelty,” said Scott Blado, who is operating the machine. “It’s just kind of a thing that you go and do. It’s not really a ‘we’ve got to go that way’ kind of thing. It’s more of an event.”

This week, operators fired up the hoist, the only one of its kind in the state, for the summer season.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

Last year was the wettest year on record in the Wisconsin River basin.

That meant reservoirs were full, and challenging spring weather could put stress on the system.

But the forecasts are looking better than anticipated.

The Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company manages flows on the Wisconsin River and operates five dams on major reservoirs.

The company had to aggressively draw down water levels over the winter after last year’s record precipitation.

But company vice president of operations Peter Hansen said the spring, so far, has been manageable.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

On Tuesday, Scott Blado found good news as he dipped scientific instruments below the ice on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir in Marathon County. 

“Right now, we’re seeing [a reading of] 10.9 dissolved oxygen, which is fantastic.  We couldn’t ask for anything better than that at this time of the year,” said Blado, an environmental specialist for the Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company (WVIC).

Blado tests multiple points on the reservoir every week, and on Tuesday, he saw a significant jump from the week before.

Wikimedia Commons http://flickr.com/photos/dcagne/49166811/

There's a lot of water going through the dams, and reservoirs along the Wisconsin River are full.

That's an update from Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company's Vice-President of Operations Peter Hansen in Wausau who says the system is full...

High Water On Rivers For Opening Of Fishing Season

Apr 29, 2014
Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company

The recent rain combined with runoff from the Northwoods means the Wisconsin River can be dangerous.

Peter Hanson with the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Association says that’s especially true near dams...

 

"We just ask that they watch what they’re doing, pay attention to their surroundings, listening for any warnings maybe that the dam is producing, whether it would be sirens, or staff that’s in the area. All of those large dams are all signed appropriately. They’ve got buoys out in front of the dams to keep boats away."

WVIC photo

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Wisconsin River reservoirs were very low due to the effects of an extended drought in the Northwoods. This year, with one exception, all the reservoirs feeding the river are full.

That word from Peter Hansen...the operations manager for Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company in Wausau...given the responsiblity for maintaining water flow on the state's largest river.

Last year several Northwoods reservoirs were well below full. But this year...