Jersey Valley is a P.L. 566 flood control structure with a 53 acre recreational lake. Construction of the Dam was completed in 1969 at a cost of $340,243. The watershed above the dam is just over 5,000 acres in size.
In 2005 the DNR ordered Vernon County to draw the lake down and investigate repair options to stop the abutment seepage on the downstream left hand side of the dam. There was also a significant fish kill created from nonpoint source pollution-agriculture runoff in the spring of 2005. After years of investigation into the most cost effective possibilities to repair the dam the Vernon County Board of Supervisors chose to separate from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) operation and maintenance agreement and go forward with a 3 row grout curtain repair designed by STS Engineering now AECOM.
Construction began in July of 2009 with VEIT Co. as the grouting contractor and AECOM as the engineer of record. Work continued into December of 2009 after which the contractor shut down due to the cold weather typical of Wisconsin winters. Work resumed in late April of 2010 just after the road bans where lifted, and continued until the project was completed on September 30th 2010. Veit Co. pressure grouted over 45,000 cubic feet of grout into the dam, under the dam, and into the left and right abutments (hillsides) adjoining the dam. After construction was completed Lepke Trucking and Excavating restored the site and used the rock in the work areas to construct a new swimming beach.
The final cost of the project was just over 3.87 million dollars and was paid for by a Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) brought forth by the Stimulus Act, an Acquisition and Development of Local Parks (ADLP) Stewardship grant earmarked for the project by WI congressman Lee Nerrison, and Vernon County.
Due to the nature of underground grouting work project estimates where exceeded and multiple contract change orders where brought before the Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Committee and the Vernon County Board of Supervisors. At times it was a political hot topic but the majority of Supervisors chose to go forward with the project and bring the beautiful Jersey Valley Park and Lake back into existence.
Refilling the Lake
Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) began implementing the Lake Refill plan designed by AECOM on October 14th, 2010 after J.F. Brennan Co installed a new stainless steel water control gate. On Monday November 30th the lake level was at 6.28 feet below the “lake full” level, the lake has been rising fairly steady at 1 foot per 5 days. If this trend continues the lake should be full by the end of January 2010. The LWCD has also been monitoring the 17 piezometers located on and below the dam; these provide data to estimate the phreatic water surface under the dam and its relation to the water above the dam.
Also there is a standpipe on the center of the dam; this is part of a water level monitoring system. This equipment can measure the pressure exerted by the water and correlate it into water depth. This information is then transferred via radio signal back to the Vernon County LWCD office where prompt decisions can be made during extreme flooding events.
The Vernon and Monroe County LWCD, WI DNR, and Discovery Farms are working with farmers, communities and individuals in the Jersey Valley Watershed to minimize any future adverse runoff incidents to ensure a healthy self-sufficient fish population for future generations.