GLENDALE, Wis. — The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is building a passageway at Kletzsch Park to help fish get around the dam.
Beth Wentzel enjoys the view of the Kletzsch Park Waterfall. She is a senior project manager for MMSD.
“It’s a very popular destination for anglers. During all spring, summer and fall seasons, there are different fishes in the river that draw people out to try to catch them,” said Wentzel.
Earlier this summer, MMSD started construction on repairs to the dam. They also are creating a way for fish like northern pike and lake sturgeon to get around it.
The project is a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources, Milwaukee County Parks and MMSD.
“Currently, Kletzsch Park Dam is the largest barrier for native fish in the lower 30 miles of the Milwaukee River,” Wentzel said.
Wentzel said completing this new passageway means reconnecting migrating fish from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River and nearby tributaries.
“We analyze a lot of things like how fast the water is moving, how deep it is in the fishway and making sure there is enough water through the fish way so that fish will be able to sense where that flow is and move toward it and on up through the fishway and then continue on their way,” said Wentzel.
The goal is to have the project complete in November. For Wentzel, it’s important for these fish to be able to spawn in their natural habitats.
“They’ll get up to their spawning areas, lay their eggs so those eggs will hatch, and you’ll have babies that stay up in those areas where they are safe and can grow and then eventually, they will be larger adult fish and they will make their way back down and it’s an important part of having a healthy river,” said Wentzel.
Wentzel hopes the new fish passageway will not only bring more fish to the area for anglers, but also create a soothing natural area for others to enjoy.