Low River Levels and Erosion

Last Monday, August 18th, the City of Fort Wayne raised the Tainter Gate at the Hosey Dam to allow river levels in the city to drop.  This is done in order to allow maintenance work to be done in multiple locations around the city – see the press release included below.  Within hours of the gate being raised, river levels at the Spy Run Creek and St. Mary’s River confluence had dropped dramatically.

The Rivers have been this low before, most notably in September 2004. At this point, you could walk across Spy Run Creek and with a running start, probably jump the St. Mary’s River in a few locations as well. I am not sure if the Hosey Dam had anything to do with that occurrence. Erosion

Following are photos taken from the Pedestrian Bridge between Headwaters Park and Old Fort Wayne.

The lower river levels have allowed some evaluation of erosion damage along the banks. The following is a series of photos taken along the St. Mary’s River banks in Headwaters Park. At one point, the river has dug out under the tree roots lining the banks and in fact, taken down two trees already. The space between one of the sidewalks and lower river banks is shrinking.

Press Release from the City of Fort Wayne regarding raising the Tainter Gate at Hosey Dam:

City to lift dam gate Aug. 18 to lower river levels
Water to be down from St. Joe dam, St. Marys River at Taylor Street to Maumee River dam to allow better access for work

The City of Fort Wayne will raise a gate on the Maumee River’s Hosey Dam Monday, Aug. 18, to lower river levels to accommodate repairs and work on the Maumee, St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers.

The tainter gate, replaced in 2006, will go up Monday morning, and river levels will recede over the next two days. The gate controls water from the St. Joe Dam and the St. Marys River at the Taylor Street bridge to the Maumee River just west of the North Anthony Bridge.

The gate will close again Aug. 27, weather permitting, in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“It’s important that the City notifies the public of this temporary adjustment in river levels as we recognize balancing the needs of recreational waterway users and the needs of City Utilities and the County Highway Department to perform necessary work while the river levels are lower,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “This action is needed to allow for timely work on future projects yet allows multiple agencies to do work during a single river adjustment.”

The lower river levels will let City Utilities explore the sanitary sewer system behind Don Hall’s Gashouse in preparation for this fall’s construction. City Utilities will also take a core drilling of a wall near the water filtration plant’s raw water intake valve on the St. Joseph River. The County Highway Department plans to remove debris that has collected around bridges over the three local rivers.

The City has also notified interested parties about the planned gate opening as specified in a Board of Works resolution adopted in September 2007. It requires the City to notify those who have expressed interest to any City adjustment of river levels during the recreational period of April 15 to Oct. 15.

To be added to the public notification list of tainter gate adjustments, contact City Utilities Engineering Support Services at (260) 427-5065.

Related Images:


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