Keeping Dams Safe
Protecting People, Property and
Bad Axe Watershed
The watershed dams built through Public Law 83-
566 are important to Wisconsin in many ways.
They provide flood control to prime farmland,
highways, communities and residences and con-
serve natural resources.
Wisconsin was chosen in 2000 as a pilot state to
rehabilitate several aging watershed dams. Bad
Axe Watershed Dam No. 24 is part of this nation-
al pilot rehabilitation project. Experience and
information gained from this project is being
used as other dams are rehabilitated across the
During a heavy spring rainstorm water began to
enter fractures in the rock foundation causing
severe damage to the dam abutment. Rehabilita-
tion of this dam ensures that it will continue to
provide protection for property and natural re-
sources in the watershed.
Grout, a mixture of cement, water and clay, is injected through
boreholes into voids in the rock. The grout curtain reduces water flow
through rock in the dam foundation.
From May 31 to June 1, 2000, 6.75 inches of rain fell
in 36 hours in the watershed causing a partial failure
of Bad Axe Dam No.24.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
developed a supplement to the watershed plan recom-
mending repairs to the site. The principal spillway pipe
was repaired , the plunge pool was enlarged and high
rates of seepage were reduced by implementing a
grouting program. These repairs ensure that the dam
will continue to provide benefits for another 50 years.
This dam provides flood protection to cropland and
infrastructure downstream. In addition, the dam
prevents sediment from entering Hornby Creek, a
class II trout stream.
Construction project cost: $415,646
Funding: Sixty-five percent of the project construction
cost and 100% of the technical assistance was pro-
vided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service. 17.5% of the project construction cost was
provided by the State of Wisconsin and another
17.5% by t