work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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Spearfish Creek dam replacement and stream restoration

Spearfish Creek dam replacement and stream restoration
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client
South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks
location
South Dakota

improving a popular recreation spot for anglers and tourists

Spearfish Creek in South Dakota's Black Hills attracts tourists and trout anglers. When the state Department of Game, Fish, and Parks acquired a low-head industrial dam 10 miles upstream of the town of Spearfish, it hired Barr to evaluate the structure and design an attractive replacement that allowed fish passage and improved visitor access and safety.

Using hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, we developed a “rock-riffle” design consisting of a series of stepped pools that enabled the upstream pool to be maintained for recreation and habitat after dam removal. Incorporating large boulders, the design allows trout to rest before leaping to the next upstream pool. We also designed a platform overlooking the rock rapids, a parking lot, walking trail, and a bridge.

Downstream trout populations can now reach portions of the creek inaccessible since 1917. This project received a “Grand Award in Engineering Excellence” from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota.