Rest Lake Dam

Rest Lake Dam

October 28, 2012

The following notice has been posted on the DNR's website in regard to the Rest Lake Dam Environmental Analysis:

UPDATE (October 25, 2012) – EXTENSION TO PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD:  Several requests have been made to extend the public comment period to provide enough time for review and comment on the EA.  Substantive comments on the clarity, accuracy, and scope of the analysis are important to us.  Therefore, the public comment period on the EA has been extended an additional 60 days until December 31, 2012.

We strongly urge you to take the time to educate yourselves by viewing the EA at Your comments should be directed to Jon Simonsen, DNR Environmental Review Coordinator, DNR Service Center, 107 Sutliff Avenue, Rhinelander, WI  54501, 715/365-8916, or by e-mail at: 

It is expected that the DNR will issue a new order following the comment period.

September 28, 2012

Dear Friends and Members of the Manitowish Waters Lakes Association,

The Manitowish Chain Defense Fund (MCDF) Attorney, Duffy Dillon, has written a letter and developed a questionnaire regarding the DNR's Environmental Assessment of the Rest Lake Dam. The letter and questionnaire have been mailed to all the constituents of the MCDF.  

Please click on the link below to access the letter and questionnaire.This is your opportunity to learn what changes the DNR is proposing for the Rest Lake Dam operating order, and to make your concerns known to the MCDF, the DNR, and your legislators.

Letter to Constituents

Best Regards,
Board of Directors, MWLA


September 14, 2012

The Department of Natural Resources (Department) is proposing to issue a new operating order to Xcel Energy for operation of the Rest Lake Damlocated on County Trunk Highway "W" in the Town of Manitowish Waters, Vilas County.  This dam controls water levels on a chain of ten natural lakes and river channels known as the Manitowish Chain of Lakes.  Downstream, the Manitowish River flows for about 15 miles where it enters the Flambeau River. 

The purpose of this new order would be to specify certain water levels on the Chain and river flows downstream.  Changes in levels and flows are needed to better balance and protect the natural resource as well as public use interests in the system.

Before a decision can be made on the new operating order, an Environmental Assessment (EA) must be completed.  The purpose of the EA is to provide a factual disclosure of alternatives considered and anticipated environmental impacts.  The EA does not provide any permitting decisions or approvals on the project.  However, this analysis will be used to guide the Department's decision on a new operating order.

The Department has prepared a draft EA and made a preliminary decision that an environmental impact statement will not be required.  Copies of the draft EA can be obtained from Jon Simonsen, DNR Environmental Review Coordinator, located at DNR Service Center, 107 Sutliff Avenue, Rhinelander, WI  54501. Jon can be reached by telephone at (715) 365-8916 or by e-mail at: . 

A copy of the EA is available on-line at

Comments on the draft EA are welcome and should be focused on issues related to the clarity, accuracy, and level of detail of information presented in the analysis.  Comments should be received by Mr. Simonsen no later than 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 31, 2012.  Comments may be submitted verbally, electronically, or in hard copy written form.