Letter to the Editor: Just Silly

The two-year drawdown of the Forestville Millpond dam has been a contentious project. Widely opposed by local residents, but initiated nonetheless by the Door County Commission, it has generated two recall petitions, acrimonious debate at committee and commission meetings, and now baseless accusations pitting local citizens against county authority. This is just silly.

A December 31, 2019, article in the Pulse reported, “The county suspects the boulders were placed by someone who opposes the millpond drawdown …” It also states, “Boulders placed at the outflow of the Forestville Millpond dam led to the entrapment and death of fish at the Forestville Millpond in early December.” Does this make sense? The simple answer is no.

Consider: The barred barrier against which an estimated 120 fish were trapped is a barrier intended to keep fish from swimming up through the sluice gate into the upper regions of the Ahnapee River. The trapped fish were on the upriver side of this barrier. The upriver vertical throat of the sluice gate does not have a fish barrier. The trapped fish came from the pond. Once the fish were trapped between the vertical sluice-gate intake and the downstream barrier, there was no escape. When exhausted by the relentless current, they died.

The people who notified the county on Dec. 13 of the fish trapped in the sluice gate were people who oppose the drawdown. If they were actively seeking to sabotage the drawdown, why would they call the county to alert them to the fish kill?

Filling the fish barrier with stones would not slow the drawdown. The downstream sluice-gate barrier is open at the top. If the entire barrier cage were filled with stones, the water would simply flow over the top of the barrier. 

So, do we have any evidence of “Intentional Interference with the Millpond Drawdown” as the Pulse headline declared? No. What we probably have is a simple act of thoughtless, youthful vandalism encouraged by the inability of adults to listen to each other and act with respect for each other. It’s just silly. 

John Rybski

Algoma, Wisconsin