Midwest Region


News Release
June 27, 2013

Nick Utrup  920-866-1736

Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 1203 

Public Invited to Learn More About Fish Passage at Prairie du Sac Dam

Public Open House Slated for July 15 in Prairie du Sac

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public open house aimed at providing information and receiving input about fish passage alternatives at Prairie du Sac Hydroelectric Dam on the Wisconsin River.  The open house will be held Monday, July 15, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Ruth Culver Community Library, 540 Water Street, in Prairie du Sac.  Service biologist Nick Utrup will provide an overview of alternatives at 6:00 p.m.

The Service is developing an environmental assessment, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, to evaluate the environmental impacts of providing a way for fish to pass upriver and downriver from the dam.   The Service will also consider how to prevent upstream passage of non-native invasive species, such as Asian carp.

Wisconsin Power and Light, which owns and operates the Prairie du Sac Dam, is required to provide fish passage at the dam under its license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Prairie du Sac Dam is the first barrier on the Wisconsin River and is located about 92 miles upstream from the confluence with the Mississippi River.  Historically, 19 species of fish and 15 taxa of freshwater mussels occurred upstream above the Prairie du Sac Dam, or were presumed to be present based on habitat suitability and range estimates.  However, since the dam was constructed in 1915, these species are no longer found in the Wisconsin River between Prairie du Sac Dam and Kilbourn Dam, the next dam upstream.   

Because the Prairie du Sac Dam acts as a complete barrier to upstream fish movement, it is necessary to find a way to allow fish to bypass the dam, such as through a fishway.  Many fish species, including lake sturgeon and paddlefish, need access to upstream habitats seasonally to complete their life cycles. 

The Service is accepting comments about fish passage alternatives through (August 1, 2013).  Written comments will be accepted at the open house, or they may be hand delivered or mailed to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ATTN: Prairie du Sac Fishway
2661 Scott Tower Drive
New Franken, Wisconsin 54229

Or emailed to:

For more information about fish passage at Prairie du Sac Dam, go to 


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Last updated: September 25, 2015