Elm Creek Dam
The original Elm Creek dam was built in 1885 to provide water power for the flour mill located on River Road in Champlin, Minnesota. The next iteration came in 1935 as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s “Works Progress Administration” (WPA) project.
Recent studies classified the dam as a high hazard structure due to flooding potential. The previous structure was only capable of accommodating a 10-year flood event, while the new design will accommodate a 100-year event. The new design relieved approximately 40 acres of land upstream from the 100-year flood hazard and provides a cost savings to some property owners that pay for mandatory flood insurance.
Starting construction in March of 2015, the new design features an arched waterway and stepping outfall, characteristic of the 1935 structure. An upstream observation deck provides users viewing opportunities of wildlife and natural features of the area during all parts of the day. Several observation points are also available on the downstream side, all of which are fully ADA compliant and accessible to all members of the community. The changes in elevations and structural components required more than 60 separate sequenced concrete pours for the dam’s structural ingenuity. What you see above ground is only a fraction of the work required to allow Elm Creek to flow freely with the Mississippi River.
The project was successfully completed in June of 2016.