Fire Department Needs Minimum Water Level on Forestville Millpond

One of the issues swirling around the water level of the Forestville Millpond is getting water from it in the event of a fire.

Forestville village president Terry McNulty said that a water level of at least three feet needs to be in the millpond to ensure that the Southern Door Fire Department’s dry hydrant installed there for a fill site will be able to draw enough water to put out a large fire in the village.

McNulty said he was part of last week’s conference call about the millpond, which involved the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Friends of the Forestville Dam, the fire department and the Door County Environmental Council.

“Getting this minimal water level ordered is a long process,” he said. “It could take up to a year.”

McNulty said the DNR is going to meet with the County of Door, the owner and operator of the Forestville Dam, which creates the millpond. Then a public hearing will be held in three to four months.

The nearly two-year drawdown of the Forestville Millpond, located on the Ahnapee River, began in November 2019. The county favored the drawdown approach as a means to compact sediments, kill invasive aquatic vegetation and eliminate undesirable fish species such as carp before the refilling of the 94-acre site started last September.

The drawdown was mired in controversy, with the group known as the Friends of the Forestville Dam suing the county.

Monday’s village board meeting included a discussion about the current situation at the millpond and the amount of weed growth there.

“Somebody went to fish there, and they said it’s just nasty,” McNulty said.

Trustee Shawn Henderson said he believes the millpond “will be back to normal some day, but it’s going to be a while.”